The Pensions Regulator (TPR) is to launch a new round of short-notice inspections this month (July 2018) to target employers that are failing to meet their pensions auto-enrolment duties.
The spot checks, which are carried out under section 74 of the Pensions Act 2004, will focus on employers that are suspected of providing false or misleading information to TPR regarding how they are meeting their auto-enrolment obligations. It will also concentrate on those that have received an escalated penalty notice for pensions non-compliance, yet are still not meeting the required responsibilities, as well as a small number of employers selected at random.
Employers will be notified of the inspection a few days prior to TPR’s visit.
The spot checks are primarily used to detect pensions non-compliance, however they are also used by TPR to gain insight into employer behaviour. The insights gathered will be included in the annual Automatic enrolment commentary and analysis report, which is to be published this summer.
The inspections will be carried out nationwide, across Essex, Kent, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.
This month’s spot checks follow a series of investigations conducted over the past 12 months. These were completed in London, the north east, Northern Ireland, south Wales, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Greater Manchester, Sheffield and Birmingham.
Darren Ryder, director of automatic enrolment at TPR, said: “It is an offence for employers to provide TPR with false information on their declaration of compliance, but there are tell-tale signs indicating an employer might not be telling the truth. We can also detect employers who are failing to meet their automatic enrolment duties despite being issued with a penalty and we will take action if we suspect either of these is the case.
“The vast majority of employers are meeting their responsibilities and automatic enrolment is now business as usual. But where employers fail to comply with the law, we will use our full range of powers to ensure staff get the pensions they are due.”