1.In its letter to the Department dated 27th October 2021, the Committee requested a memorandum on the following point:
In relation to regulation 3(1)(a), explain how the requirement for an interview notice to contain “the details” of the interviewee will achieve the effect, as set out in paragraph 7.2 of the Explanatory Memorandum, that the notice will include either the details itemised in that paragraph or sufficient information to make it clear who is being called for an interview.
2.The Department’s response to the Committee’s point is set out below.
3.Section 72A (interviews) of the Pensions Act 2004 (c. 35) (“the 2004 Act”), was inserted into the 2004 Act by section 110 of the Pension Schemes Act 2021 (c. 1). It provides that the Pensions Regulator may, by notice in writing, require any person to whom section 72(2) of the 2004 Act applies to attend before the Pensions Regulator, at a time and place specified in the notice, to answer questions and provide explanations on one or more matters specified in the notice. Section 72(1) (provision of information) of the 2004 Act enables the Regulator by notice in writing to require any person to whom subsection (2) applies to produce documents or information. Subsection (2) of section 72 therefore sets out the categories of persons to whom both provisions apply. It includes, for example, a trustee or manager of a pension scheme or a professional adviser in relation to a scheme.
4.For a notice requiring a person to attend for interview to be effective for the purposes of section 72A of the 2004 Act it must contain details which enable the person required to attend to be identified. In addition section 72A(1) requires that a notice must specify the time and place of the interview and the matters on which the person will be required to answer questions and provide explanations. Section 72A(2) of the 2004 Act provides that a notice under subsection (1) requiring a person to attend for interview must contain such other information as may be prescribed. There is no such further requirement in relation to notices issued under section 72(1) of the 2004 Act.
5.The information prescribed for the purposes of section 72A(2) is set out in regulation 3(1) of the Pensions Regulator (Information Gathering Powers and Modification) Regulations 2021 (S.I. 2021/754). It includes matters such as details of how the interview process will be conducted and the interviewee’s right to be represented. Regulation 3(1)(a) provides that the notice must contain: “the details of the person required to attend the interview with the Regulator”.
6.The wording in regulation 3(1)(a) is used because the Pensions Regulator may have different identity information in different cases, for example it may not always have an individual’s home address as well as that person’s business address (or vice versa). There may also be cases where there is more than one person at an address or exercising a function in relation to a scheme with the same name. The details that are required in relation to an individual may therefore not always be the same in each case. The intention in the use of this wording is to enable a notice to be issued in situations such as those described, and ensure that the notice contains details to make it clear who is being called for interview.
7.The Department therefore considers that the drafting in regulation 3(1)(a) properly reflects the polity intention. Paragraph 7.2 of the Explanatory Memorandum says: “The information set out in the notice will include details, for example, name, address and job title, to make it clear who is being called for an interview.”. The Department considers that this properly explains the effect of regulation 3(1)(a) and provides examples of the type of information that may be included as the details.