The number of first stage enforcement notices issued by The Pensions Regulator has fallen by 45 per cent over a year, in a sign that auto-enrolment has largely bedded in.
TPR's latest compliance and enforcement quarterly bulletin, published today (August 22), showed the regulator had issued 6,720 fixed penalty notices in the period from April to June - a decrease from 12,220 in the same period the previous year.
But it was still more than it issued in the beginning of the year, at 6,571 fixed penalty notices.
A fixed penalty notice of £400 is the first stage in the enforcement process and is issued to an employer for failing to comply with a statutory notice or some specific employer duties.
It is followed by an escalating penalty notice, which is issued where an employer hasn’t complied with previous warnings and varies between £50 and £10,000 a day depending on the size of the company.
The regulator issued 2,502 escalating penalty notices in the quarter, only a slight increase from the 2,498 issued the previous year but down 14 per cent on the first three months of the year.
TPR stated that there was no particular reason behind the trend as there had been "no attempt" by the regulator to reduce the amount of fines that it hands out.
However, TPR explained that over the past couple of years the number of fines had been increasing due auto-enrolment, which has now largely bedded in.
TPR does not expect to see any big jumps in the number of fines issued for non-compliance going forward.
Overall, TPR used its powers 23,409 times from April to June, down from 25,198 in the previous quarter and 43,700 the previous year.
From April to June, 1,217 fine and notices were revoked, substituted or varied following an employer dispute.
The regulator’s quarterly bulletin also outlined its latest compliance case where an employer was fined £350,000 for failing to re-enrol staff into its workplace pension scheme.
Despite warnings from the regulator, the employer, who has not been named, allowed penalties from the TPR to accrue before correctly re-enrolling staff into the company pension scheme and paying the right contributions.
The company, which has more than 5,000 staff, has now re-enrolled more than 40 staff and paid over £100,000 of backdated pension contributions.
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