Frank Field

New inquiry into the implementation of Auto Enrolment

In an article in Professional Pensions today (14 November 2015) an announcement has been made by the Work and Pensions Committee.


The committee has launched an inquiry into pensions’ automatic enrolment (AE).

Under the Pensions Act 2008, every employer in the UK must put certain staff, unless they choose to opt out, into a pension scheme and contribute towards it. Larger businesses are already required to auto enrol staff. The requirement is now gradually being applied to smaller employers.

The Committee now wants written evidence on the implementation of AE, particularly the effects on small and micro employers.

Submissions on the following areas are welcomed:

  • Effectiveness of the AE process and lessons learnt so far;
  • Impact of AE on smaller employers and how they plan to mitigate any negative effects;
  • Department for Work and Pensions support for small and micro employers in meeting their AE obligations, and any recommendations for improvement;
  • Suitability of the AE earnings threshold and minimum contribution rates;
  • Effect of delays to the implementation of increases to minimum contributions announced in the Autumn Statement; and
  • Interaction between AE and other pensions reforms, including the new state pension and pension freedom.


“Automatic enrolment is generally perceived as being successful to date, but in the early stages of delivery it was only large and medium sized employers that had to meet these new pension requirements,” said chairman of the committee Frank Field.

“The time has now come for smaller employers, including people who would not consider themselves business people – such as those who employ nannies and carers – to participate. We must ensure they are in a position to cope with these new obligations. We will also look at contribution rates and criteria for inclusion in auto-enrolment, to ensure that the right people are defaulted into saving adequately for retirement.”

At AE Ready, we believe that this is belated. Pension specialist, Michael Weaver thinks,

“It’s a bit late to start considering this given the starting date for small employers reaching staging is Jan 1 2016. Many will already have gone through the process before the evidence is even collated.”


The deadline for submission of evidence  is Wednesday 3 February 2016.

There is no indication yet of when the outcomes of this evidence will be shared.