Impact assessment of Brexit on public pensions: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

FOI reference: FOI/18/02048
Date received: 31 July 2018 
Date responded: 29 August 2018
Information requested

  1. any assessment your organisation has made (or has commissioned others to make) of the impact the UK leaving the European Union is likely to have in your areas of responsibility.
  2.  any preparations your organisation is making or contingency plans you have prepared for the UK leaving the European Union in all possible scenarios including a ‘no deal’ Brexit.


  1. SPPA’s area of responsibility is public service pensions. SPPA has asked the schemes actuary to prepare a report on the impact the UK leaving the European Union may have on public sector pensions in Scotland.
  2. SPPA is an agency of the Scottish Government and is contributing as required to its ongoing Directorate readiness plans, which include preparations for various withdrawal scenarios. The need for scenario planning has been identified in the SPPA Strategic Plan.

As a public pension scheme administrator, one of SPPA’s main duties is to make accurate pension payments to scheme members on the due date. Work carried out to date indicates that the impact of a transition or ‘no deal’ on Brexit would not have an immediate impact on this function.

 An exemption under section 27(1) of FOISA applies to the SPPA Strategic Plan. We intend to publish that information by October 2018, which is within 12 weeks of the date of your request. We consider that it is reasonable to withhold the information until that date, rather than release some of this information before the planned publication date.

This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.  We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption.  We recognise that there is some public interest in release because the document will be of benefit to Scheme members and external stakeholders, and this will be met by our planned publication.  In the meantime, there is a greater public interest in taking the time necessary to ensure the information has been properly collated and checked before it is published as planned. Also, we see no public interest in disrupting our programme of work to release the information ahead of the intended publication date.

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit 
Phone: 0300 244 4000 
The Scottish Government 
St Andrew's House 
Regent Road 

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