§ Mr. Boswell
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what obligations on pension trustees are imposed by the Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority to notify changes in status of schemes; and how many such changes(a) overall and (b) involving closure have been so notified in each of the last three years. 
§ Mr. McCartney
In almost all cases it is a legal requirement for pension scheme trustees to register details of their schemes with the Pension Schemes Registry which is run by the Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority (Opra). On registration, trustees are required to tell the Registry for example: whether the scheme is an open, closed or frozen scheme; and whether the scheme provides money purchase benefits, benefits other than money purchase benefits, or a combination of both. Trustees must, by law, notify the Registry of any change to this information within 12 months of the occurrence of that change. If trustees, without reasonable cause, fail to comply with this requirement Opra can fine them.
The numbers of schemes reporting (a) any status change and (b) closure, in each of the last three years, are shown in the table.
Pension schemes that have reported (a) any change of status and (b) closure in each of the last three years (a) Total number of schemes reporting any changes in status during the year (b) Numbers of schemes closed during the year 1999–2000 3,233 308 2000–01 2,080 336 2001–02 1,703 245
- 1. The information is based on data held by the Pension Schemes Registry (PSR). It covers all schemes including those offering salary-related benefits, money-purchase benefits and mixed benefits as well as schemes where the benefit type is not recorded in the PSR system.
- 2. A scheme's status will be one of the following. Open schemes admit new members. Closed schemes do not admit new active members, but allow existing members to continue to accrue benefits. Frozen schemes do not allow any future accruals. Schemes starting to wind up are also frozen. Schemes that have completed wind up have no members—all assets are realised and all liabilities are discharged. Column (a) shows all changes in status with an effective date during the specified year.
- 3. The PSR system holds information on the most recent change in scheme status and the effective date of the change. Because of the way the data are held a later change will overwrite an earlier change, so data for earlier years become increasingly inaccurate. Trustees are required to report changes within 12 months so there is likely to be a lag before the data reflects what is happening currently.