Intervention by The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has ensured that over 40 authorities and schools have submitted information to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) for almost 8,500 members.
This has ensured that records have been maintained and accurate benefit statements can be issued to TPS members.
TPR has issued a regulatory intervention report (PDF, 59kb, 5 pages) outlining how it worked closely with TPS to ensure the authorities and schools acted correctly. This meant TPR did not need to exercise its legal powers.
Scheme administrator, Capita, approached TPR last May after three local authorities and 40 non-local authority employers (including academies, free schools, independent schools and further education establishments) had failed to submit audited End of Year Certificates (EOYCs) for 2014/15 to the scheme manager by the legal deadline. Certificates were outstanding for 8,349 members.
The certificates provide assurance to a scheme manager, in this instance the Secretary of State for Education, that contributions have been correctly credited to the scheme. Information in EOYCs form part of the scheme’s records that its scheme manager is legally obliged to maintain. Without accurate records there is a real risk that current and future pensioners will not get paid the right benefits.
Mike Birch, Director of Case Management at TPR, said: "Scheme managers have a legal duty to provide their members with accurate and timely information about their benefits, and they can’t do this if they don’t hold accurate records.
"Scheme managers should have robust processes in place to ensure accurate data is provided on time. Where these processes fail to ensure employers provide the information required by law to the scheme we are able to step in."
TPR contacted the non-compliant authorities and employers and discovered a lack of knowledge surrounding the legal obligation to submit a certificate and how to ensure it was correctly completed. TPR worked with employers to ensure they understood what they had to do and provide practical guidance on how to do it.
Mike Birch added: "Our focus in this case was to address the issue of employer non-compliance. This is an example of how effective our approach of educate and enable can be. As a result of working closely with the scheme and non-compliant employers we have increased their understanding of EOYCs, the necessary certificates have been submitted and we have not had to invoke our legal powers.
"Scheme managers, employers, administrators and members of pension boards have a duty to report breaches of the law they believe of material significance, to TPR. We urge them to engage with us in a prompt and open manner.
"Our work with the Teachers' Pension Scheme shows how we can intervene to ensure the correct operation of pension schemes."
As a result of this nine-month intervention all non-compliant employers submitted the required information to the scheme administrator (except one which entered administration).
- The Teachers’ Pension Scheme is defined as a public service scheme under the Public Service Pensions Act (2013).
- TPR is the regulator of work-based pension schemes in the UK. Our statutory objectives are: to protect members’ benefits; to reduce the risk of calls on the Pension Protection Fund (PPF); to promote, and to improve understanding of, the good administration of work-based pension schemes; to maximise employer compliance with automatic enrolment duties; and to minimise any adverse impact on the sustainable growth of an employer (in relation to the exercise of the regulator’s functions under Part 3 of the Pensions Act 2004 only).