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Key points

  • Certain people involved with public service schemes must inform us of breaches of the law where that breach is likely to be of material significance to us.
  • When deciding whether a breach is likely to be of material significance to us, those under a duty to report should consider the cause, effect, reaction to and wider implications of the breach.
  • You should establish adequate procedures that enable breaches to be considered and reported.
  • You must submit reports in writing and should provide as much useful information as possible.

The duty to report

Certain people must report breaches of the law to us where they have reasonable cause to believe that:

  • a legal duty relevant to the administration of the scheme hasn’t been or isn’t being complied with: this could relate for instance to keeping records, internal controls, calculating benefits and, for funded schemes, includes investment governance and administration matters
  • this failure to comply is likely to be of 'material significance' to us

Who needs to report breaches

The following people need to report breaches of the law:

  • managers of the scheme
  • pension board members
  • any other person involved in the administration of the scheme
  • employers
  • professional advisers including auditors, actuaries, legal advisers and fund managers
  • any other person involved in advising the scheme manager in relation to the scheme

Deciding whether to report

Where you suspect a breach of the law, you should carry out checks to establish the facts around a suspected breach.

When deciding whether a breach is likely to be of material significance to us, you should consider the cause, effect, reaction to and wider implications of the breach. You should consider these points together and, if you believe a breach has occurred, you should report it to us.

You should record the breach even if you decide you don’t need to report it to us.

Setting up procedures

You should set up and operate procedures that enable those required to report to do so. The procedures should allow reporters to make a judgement within an appropriate timescale.

Public Service toolkit online learning

Go to the Public Service toolkit You can learn more about when and how to report breaches of the law in the ‘Reporting breaches of the law’ course. You must log in or sign up to use the Public Service toolkit.

Submitting a report to us

You must submit a report to us in writing. In your report you should include:

  • a high level summary of the issue
  • why it has occurred, including whether a third party (such as an employer) has caused you to be in breach of this legal requirement
  • how many members and what categories of members are affected, eg active or deferred, and the total number of scheme members in each category
  • what action is being taken to address the issue and, if possible, a robust improvement plan outlining what is being done to resolve it, who is responsible and when the breach will be rectified by
  • how future breaches of this nature will be prevented and effects on members minimised

You can report breaches using our online service Exchange:

You should clearly mark urgent reports and draw attention to matters you consider particularly serious. If appropriate, call us before you submit your written report.

Detailed guidance

'Reporting breaches' section of the public service code of practice.

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