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Capita: Helping people save toward retirement and a financially secure society

Guest blog written by Owen Barry, Client Partner, Central Government, Capita as part of the Digital Transformation In the Public Sector week. #techUKDigitalPS

Between 2011 and 2022, The Pensions Regulator achieved the inconceivable: making saving for retirement the norm. Now, 22.9 million people are saving regularly into a workplace pension. 

From 1997 the UK saw a significant decline in the number of people saving toward retirement and this, added to the impact of an ageing society, risked leaving many citizens without enough money to retire. The Pensions Commission therefore recommended that employers be required to automatically enrol eligible workers into workplace pension schemes. 

Challenges to establishing automatic enrolment as “the norm” 

For The Pensions Regulator, tasked with implementing automatic enrolment, this constituted a major social change programme. It faced a series of challenges from the outset, not least that of establishing its brand as an authority with whose regulations and directives all UK employers must comply. It also needed to build the operational capacity and capability to regulate and administer automatic enrolment and subsequently to manage complex employer communication journeys to support education and encourage – or enforce – compliance.  

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Partnering people and technology  

The Pensions Regulator brought to bear its regulatory expertise, set out clear goals and outcomes and put appropriate risk transfer in place. Partnering with Capita, they developed the solution, technology and overall operating model and secured the resources to enable widespread levels of communication and enforcement. This all required a major IT upgrade and transfer to the cloud to enable the smooth transition of the IT and data solution for automatic enrolment. 

A team, which grew to over 100 people at its peak, was assembled to deliver the capability to launch the automatic enrolment service on behalf of employers and employees. A communication programme was launched for all employer types and back-office processes and procedures were redesigned to support on-time compliance. 

Informing, communicating and ensuring compliance 

Communication strategies 

  • a mail campaign to over 1m employers  

  • a behaviour change-based communications programme designed to drive timely compliance  

  • a customer support centre, scalable up and down to support demand, that could handle highly complex technical calls from a mix of knowledgeable pensions professionals, individuals and small employers with little to no pensions knowledge. 

Web services and IT transformation 

  • an ‘enforcement journey’ to nudge employers who failed to declare their compliance 

  • employer-facing communications and experience and supporting technology to enable compliance oversight  

  • migration of all AE programme applications and data to the Microsoft Azure cloud, with no disruption to service 

  • migration of users from the Government Gateway which improved user experience and made compliance easier 

This major social reform programme reached over 1.5 million employers and compliance rates exceeded expectations, as evidenced by the uptake of pensions saving: by 2020, 88% of eligible employees (19.4 million people) and their employers were contributing to pension pots. 

The outcome for society as a whole has been enormously beneficial. Saving for a pension is now the norm with 22.9 million people regularly putting aside savings toward a retirement in which they can expect to maintain their standard of living. 

Partnership statistics as at September 2021 

  • Over 6 million website visits 

  • Over 33 million letters/emails sent 

  • 3 million Declarations of Compliance processed, including primary declarations of compliance, 1st re-declarations and second re-declarations to the end of July 2021 

  • 1.2 million phone calls answered 

  • Fewer than 450 complaints (not all upheld) 

  • Over 61,000 employer-requested reviews completed 

  • 10.5m eligible jobholders enrolled into a workplace pension scheme (meaning 22.9 million people are now saving into a workplace pension) 

Read the full article here.

To read more from #techUKDigitalPS Week, check out our landing page here.

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Stay in touch and learn more about Owen Barry. To learn more about Capita, please visit their LinkedIn and Twitter.

On Tuesday 5 April, techUK was delighted to host the Cabinet Office and industry representatives for the launch event for the UK Government’s Digital, Data and Technology Sourcing Playbook which was published on 28 March 2022. The DDaT Sourcing Playbook sets out guidance – in one place – as to how digital projects and programmes are assessed, procured and delivered in central government departments, arms-length bodies and the wider public sector. Through the application of what is commercial best practice, the Playbook addresses 11 key policies and six cross-cutting priorities that will ensure government gets things right from the start when it comes to procurement.

You can watch the recording of the launch event in full here:

DDaT Playbook Launch Event

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