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Welfare Reform and Pensions Act 1999

Commentary

Section 4: Obtaining information with respect to compliance with section 3

Subsections (1) and (2) give OPRA the power to require any person who has, or who is likely to have, information relevant to investigating compliance with the employer access requirement to produce any relevant documents.

Subsections (3) and (4) apply sections 100 to 103 of the Pensions Act 1995 in relation to OPRA’s functions under sections 4 and 5 of this Act.

Section 100 confers power on a justice of the peace (or, in Scotland, a justice) to issue warrants to enable OPRA to search premises in certain circumstances. The extension of section 100 means that OPRA will be able to seek a warrant where they have problems in obtaining documents relating to compliance with the employer access requirements.

Section 101creates offences for obstructing OPRA’s investigations.

Section 102provides that OPRA’s powers do not enable them to require anyone to give information which would incriminate him or her or his or her spouse, or to require production of documents which would in court be subject to legal professional privilege. Section 102 also provides that liens on documents are unaffected by OPRA’s powers to require production of documents.

Section 103enables OPRA to publish reports of its investigations.

Subsection (5) defines “document” for the purposes of this section. The definition mirrors the definition in the corresponding provision of the 1995 Act.

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