Regulator’s surprise AE spot checks reach Manchester

The Pensions Regulator’s nationwide auto-enrolment enforcement campaign arrived in Manchester last week with dozens of employers visited to check whether they had complied with their duties.

Greater Manchester became the second area to be the focus of the short-notice inspections, following earlier spot checks in London. Visits will begin in other towns and cities across the UK in the following weeks.

TPR says the checks will lead to enforcement action where deadlines have been missed.

The checks will also be used to help them understand whether employers are facing any unnecessary challenges and will seek to improve its guidance as a result of feedback, says the regulator.

More than 500,000 employers across the UK have met their automatic enrolment duties, with nearly eight million workers given workplace pensions as a result. New data to the end of April 2017 reveals that in Manchester more than 3,100 employers have met their duties, along with more than 2,000 in Bolton, 1,300 in Bury, 1,400 in Oldham, 1,400 in Rochdale, 1,600 in Salford, 2,200 in Stockport, 1,300 in Tameside, 1,900 in Trafford and 2,000 in Wigan.

Across Greater Manchester as a whole, around 300,000 staff have signed up for workplace pensions to date.

TPR acting director of automatic enrolment Darren Ryder says: “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.

“Every employer has workplace pension duties and we are determined that every worker gets the pension they are entitled to.

“Automatic enrolment is not an option, it’s the law. Where we find employers are not complying with the law, we will use our powers to make them comply.”