Memorandum by the Department of Social Security
OCCUPATIONAL PENSION SCHEMES (REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
SCHEMES EXEMPTION) REGULATIONS 2000 (S.I. 2000/3198)
1. The Committee has requested a Memorandum on the
"Given that the new regulation
1(3A) inserted into the 1997 Regulations by regulation 11 provides
that regulations 2 to 6 and 8 and 9 of the 1997 Regulations do
not apply to a Republic of Ireland Scheme, explain the purpose
of applying regulations 1 and 7 alone to such schemes."
2. These Regulations exempt, from the requirements
of certain regulations made under the Pension Schemes Act 1993,
certain occupational pensions schemes which are established in
the Republic of Ireland and which have, or have had, at least
one member in pensionable service in Great Britain. The "1997
Regulations", to which the Committee refers, are the Register
of Occupational and Personal Pension Schemes Regulations 1997
(S.I. 1997/371) which make provision in connection with the
maintenance of a register of occupational and personal pension
schemes. Regulation 7 provides that a person who fails, without
reasonable cause, to comply with certain requirements of the 1997
Regulations as to the provision of information to the Registrar
is guilty of an offence, and that a person who misuses information
from the register is liable to a civil penalty.
3. Shortly before these Regulations were due to be
made, it was noticed that the disapplication of regulation 7(1)
to Republic of Ireland schemes would have required the exercise
of the power in section 168(2) of the Pension Schemes Act 1993.
This would, by virtue of section 186(3)(d), have subjected the
entire instrument to the affirmative resolution procedure. It
would not then have been possible to make the Regulations in time
to have them in force by the end of the year 2000, so that a commitment
to that effect to the Government of the Republic of Ireland could
not have been met.
4. It was accordingly decided that regulation 7 should
not for the time being be disapplied in the case of Republic of
Ireland schemes. This cannot have unintended practical consequences
for any person in connection with such a scheme: no new liability
to prosecution or to a penalty can arise under the 1997 Regulations
in the case of such a person after 30 December 2000, because the
requirement to comply with the provisions whose breach would attract
such liability has been disapplied in relation to such a person
since 31 December 2000.
5. Regulation 7 and, in consequence, regulation 1
of the 1997 Regulations will be disapplied in relation to Republic
of Ireland schemes when the next opportunity arises to make regulations
under the Pension Schemes Act 1993 by the affirmative procedure.
23 January 2001