Pension consultation requirements
Pension consultation requirements

The following Pensions guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Pension consultation requirements
  • Statutory framework for the pension consultation requirements
  • When do the requirements apply?
  • Are there any exceptions?
  • Who are affected members?
  • What are the ‘listed changes’?
  • Changes which do not require consultation
  • Areas of uncertainty
  • What if changes are made to the consultation proposals?
  • Who must be consulted?
  • more

Employers are required by statute to consult with members or their representatives for at least 60 days before making a ‘listed change’ to occupational or personal pension schemes. What constitutes a ‘listed change’ is set out in the Occupational and Personal Pension Schemes (Consultation by Employers and Miscellaneous Amendment) Regulations 2006, SI 2006/349 (the Pension Consultation Regs).

For a consideration of wider issues which may apply when making amendments to an occupational pension scheme, see Practice Note: Amendment of occupational pension schemes—employer and trustee considerations.

Statutory framework for the pension consultation requirements

The requirement to consult was introduced with effect from 6 April 2006. Its operative provisions can be found in:

  1. the sections 259–261 of the Pensions Act 2004 (PeA 2004), and

  2. the Pension Consultation Regs, SI 2006/349

In April 2010, the DWP issued guidance to help employers comply with the requirement to consult. The guidance contains recommended good practice but it does not have any status in law. The guidance has now been archived but may still be of assistance to employers in complying with their legal obligations under the Pension Consultation Regs, SI 2006/349.

When do the requirements apply?

The Pension Consultation Regs require a ‘relevant employer’ (defined below) to carry out a consultation if:

  1. any of the following persons propose to make a listed change that affects