TPR hits 'most' key performance indicators despite Covid-19 impact

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has hit "most" of its key performance indicator (KPI) targets despite the impact of Covid-19, achieving six green ratings and three amber, two of which "just missed their targets".

The regulator's Annual Report and Accounts for 2020/21 highlighted TPR's resilience amid the pandemic, showcasing positive progress in a number of areas, including key enforcement activity such as its first European arrest warrant.

However, TPR acknowledged that Covid-19 had “dominated” its capacity and productivity over the past year, leading to “continuous re-planning and prioritisation” to ensure it maximised the effectiveness of its delivery.

Indeed, TPR had two missed or red KPIs, which were attributed to the impact of the pandemic and reprioritisation within the policy team and challenges in meeting Government Service Standards in time for planned delivery phases.

This was in addition to three amber ratings, including an amber rating for the regulators target to ensure employers make “accurate and timely contributions”, and on the consultation process around the new DB code, which was delayed amid the pandemic.

Furthermore, whilst TPR achieved a "fantastic result" as its employee engagement score rose to 72 per cent in 2021, compared 62 per cent in 2020, this was slightly below the target of 75 per cent and therefore achieved an amber rating.

KPIs that achieved a green rating, meanwhile, included the completion of TPRs initial Covid-19 response workstreams, extending its supervision approach across more savers, expanding its DB rapid response and events engagement to include interventions associated with the impact of Covid-19.

Green ratings were also achieved in relation to objectives around continued AE declarations from employers, placing jobholders into a qualifying scheme, which it was above target on at 99 per cent, and transitioning to a new AE delivery model.

The report confirmed that the change in approach for delivery of auto enrolment has also meant that it has finished the year with 790FTE against a budget of 837.

In addition to this, TPR confirmed that, excluding capital expenditure adjustment, it has come in £1.7m below the full year budget.

TPR chair, Sarah Smart, commented: “This has been an extraordinarily tough year for everyone and I am immensely proud of how TPR has risen to the challenge.

“Our staff provided essential support to schemes and employers as they battled the impact of the pandemic, and have shown great resilience to plan for new responsibilities given to us under the Pension Schemes Act, push on with significant changes internally and launch a new strategy to protect savers. This strategy brings key priorities such as climate change and value for money sharply into focus.

“The road ahead will be no less bumpy as the fallout from the pandemic continues to be felt across our industry. But through the prudent use of resources, and the same determination, I know we will work efficiently and smartly to prioritise our activities, reach our targets and deliver robust regulation.”

TPR chief executive, Charles Counsell, added: “In a year in which we have all been tested like never before, I am delighted that we continued to deliver successfully against our statutory objectives to protect savers and make workplace pensions work.

“We responded quickly to introduce vital easements on automatic enrolment and DB funding. We forged ahead with new and complex work, including the launch of guidance for superfunds and stepping up the fight against scams.

"The supervisory relationships we have built with schemes meant we were in regular dialogue, both to support schemes and to hear first-hand their challenges.

“However, we did not ease up on our determination to prosecute fraudsters who threaten savers’ retirements. And we were swift to introduce new operational measures to allow all our staff to work effectively from home.

“Our new corporate strategy is a blueprint for the future of pensions regulation over a 15-year horizon, delivered by an ambitious rolling corporate plan which sets clear and challenging targets.

"I am confident that our dedicated staff, who have worked so hard to adapt to a new environment, will ensure we meet these targets and deliver on the priorities we have set out.”

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