Pensions Regulator rolls out spot checks on auto-enrolment


Aug 10, 2017



Since April 2017, The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has begun carrying out a number of visits to employers across the UK to asses whether they are complying with their pensions auto-enrolment duties.

These spot checks, conducted at short notice, began in London and were then taken to Greater Manchester. They have since been rolled out to Sheffield, Birmingham and, in the last couple of weeks, to Edinburgh. The plan is for this enforcement campaign to be conducted nationwide, and TPR teams will begin visiting other towns and cities across the UK in the coming weeks.

The investigations are intended to check that qualifying staff are being given the workplace pensions they are entitled to. If businesses fail to comply they risk facing serious fines, and recent enforcement statistics have revealed that in the first three months of 2017 TPR issued 4,673 fixed penalty notices and more than 1,000 escalating penalty notices. In total, 14,502 fixed penalty notices of £400 have now been issued, along with a total of 2,517 escalating penalty notices of up to £10,000 per day, to employers who have failed to comply by their staging date.

Darren Ryder, The Pensions Regulator’s acting director of automatic enrolment, said:

“The vast majority of employers become compliant ahead of their deadline but visits help us to identify why some have not, so we can take action where we need to. […] Automatic enrolment is not an option, it is the law. Where we find employers are not complying with the law, we will use our powers to make them comply.”

The spot checks not only ensure that all employers are complying with their duties, but also help TPR understand the day to day problems that employers are facing when trying to implement auto-enrolment. More than 640,000 employers across the UK have met their automatic enrolment deadlines, with more than eight million workers given workplace pensions as a result.

The investigations will continue, not just in the big cities but will spread across the country soon. Employers are notified about an inspection only a matter of days in advance of TPR’s visit. If you’ve not yet set up your auto-enrolment scheme then act now and make sure your business avoids these heavy penalties. Please get in touch if you’d like any more information.