The Pensions Regulator (TPR) is to prosecute healthcare organisation Crest Healthcare and its managing director for failing to automatically enrol its employees into a workplace pension scheme.
The Birmingham-based organisation and its managing director Shelia Aluko have been summoned to appear at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on 22 December 2017 to each face two charges of wilfully failing to comply with the organisation’s automatic-enrolment duties under the Pensions Act 2008, and one charge of knowingly or recklessly providing false or misleading information to TPR.
Crest Healthcare and Aluko have been accused of not complying with section 45 of the Pensions Act 2008, which states that employers must make prescribed arrangements by which employees become active members of an automatic-enrolment pension scheme.
The organisation and Aluko have also been accused of falsely claiming they had enrolled 25 employees into a workplace pension scheme. Knowingly providing false information to TPR is an offence under section 80 of the Pensions Act 2004.
The maximum sentence that can be delivered in a magistrates’ court for this form of non-compliance is an unlimited fine. If a case were to be heard in a crown court, the maximum sentence that can be applied is two years’ imprisonment.
A spokesperson at Crest Healthcare said: “Crest Heslthcare’s Birmingham office was visited by the Pension Regulator in November 2016 with a warrant of arrest and two police officers for non-compliance of automatic enrolment process.
“After a thorough inspection of our system and a recorded meeting with the director, Sheila Aluko, recommendations were made and Crest [Healthcare] was duly instructed to pay all accruing contributions due to staff and on behalf of staff.
“Crest [Healthcare] met the recommendations and became compliant in January 2017.
“On [Thursday 7 December 2017] at 8.30pm, The Pension Regulator sent a courier/investigator, to deliver summons from Brighton Magistrate court and in the summons was a notification of the intention to make a press release through their website.
“Crest Healthcare is currently operating according to TPR’s recommendations for compliance and no concerns have been raised by any individual or TPR until receipt of the said summons.”