Why is the Department for Work and Pensions conducting this research?
The DWP is responsible for welfare and pension policy and is a key player in tackling child poverty. The DWP has an ambitious agenda of reform which includes helping people meet the challenges of an ageing society and maintain standards of living in retirement, through a variety of methods including promoting saving for retirement. Their priorities include, simplifying the welfare system, reforming pensions, getting Britain working and reducing poverty.
Recent changes to both the state and private pension system have been heavily covered in the media, the state retirement age has increased, with proposals to increase it further and introduce a flat rate single tier state pension. There have also been major changes to workplace pension, with the introduction of automatic enrolment, which started with the largest companies in October 2012 and will cover all employers by February 2018. The change to an opt out approach to pension saving is intended to overcome the inertia surrounding people's savings for retirement.
To effectively implement government policy and assess the impact of current and future policy developments on pensions, the government requires accurate information about the current pension provision made by employers. For this reason, it is essential to have an up-to-date picture of pension arrangements (if any) made by employers.
This research will collect up-to-date information on the extent and nature of pension provision that private sector employers have in place and will monitor any changes in the type and level of provision compared with the last time the survey was conducted, in 2011. In particular the survey will be crucial in providing the latest overview of pension provision, including changes following automatic enrolment and how employers are preparing for these changes. More information about the reforms can be found here.
More specifically, the research will collect information on the proportions of firms providing occupational pension schemes, offering access to stakeholder pension schemes, group personal pensions, NEST, or whether employers make contributions to other forms of private personal pensions. The research also asks about the extent of employee membership of pension schemes, and the average contribution rates made by employers and scheme members.
The research asks employers how they expect to implement the workplace pension reforms and where they expect to automatically enrol their employees. Some employers will have already passed their staging date and will therefore be asked how their business decided to implement the reforms.
How will the data be used by the Department for Work and Pensions
The findings of this research will provide DWP with an accurate and up-to-date picture of the current private pensions landscape and will be critical for the effective development, implementation and monitoring of private pension policy.