FOI 27684



Freedom of Information Disclosure Log

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Open Government Licence 2.0 (United Kingdom) [Open Data]

FOI 27684

Thank you for your request for information about the following:

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, I request the following information. Please provide data on how many NHS staff have opted in and opted out of the NHS pension scheme for the last three full financial years: 2019/20, 2020/21 and 2021/22.

I would like this data disaggregated by the following: - Each of the senor Agenda for Change pay bands (from band 8a to 9), but also please include very senior managers (VSMs) and executive senior managers (ESMs). If you cannot include ESMs, and/or this breaches the FOI time limit for a response, then please just include from band 8a to VSM; and

  • Reasons for leaving the NHS pension scheme. For this, please provide the data given the following reasons:

1) Total

2) Affordability

3) Annual Allowance/LTA

4) Contributing to another pension scheme

5) In receipt of a fixed or enhanced protection certificate

6) Other

7) Secured retirement income via other means

8) Temporary opt out due to other financial priorities

9) Would prefer not to say

10) No Reason given

On 28 October 2022 you clarified the following:

To answer your questions, I would like to change “opted in” to re-entered the NHS Pension Scheme after having initially opted out. As in, if the person then decided to rejoin the NHS Pension Scheme after initially opting out, then that should count.

If this information is not available, then please do not include it.

Your request was received on 6 September 2022 and I am dealing with it under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.


The following was advised on 16 September when we contacted you for clarification.

I am writing to advise you that following a search of our paper and electronic records, I have established that the following information you requested is not held by the NHS Business Services Authority:

• NHS Pensions have no information of members who have opted out from auto-enrolment, because we would never have received information to create a pension record for them.

• We do not hold Agenda for Change (AfC) pay band, only the pensionable pay on which contributions were paid and it is not possible to determine which members are AfC and which are not.

• We do not hold any information on member’s reasons for opting out of the NHS pension scheme. The ‘reasons’ you outline in your request appear to be the reasons provided by the ESR Opt-Out reports (which only cover ESR members). This is summary information broken down by months in each financial year and does not break down further.

In addition, we do not hold records of very senior managers (VSMs) and executive senior managers (ESMs) for the same reasons outlined in bullet point 2 above.

We would be able to provide a breakdown of the information based on total pensionable pay (TPP). If you would like the information broken down in this way please submit a fresh request.

Remaining Data

A copy of the information is attached.

Please note: Both the instances of opt-outs, and the unique member counts; members can opt in and out multiple times throughout the year – as noted in the table.

As of the 31 March 2022, the NHS Pension Scheme had 1,749,681 active members.

Data Queries

If you have any queries regarding the data provided, or if you plan on publishing the data please contact ensuring you quote the above reference. This is important to ensure that the figures are not misunderstood or misrepresented.

If you plan on producing a press or broadcast story based upon the data please contact This is important to ensure that the figures are not misunderstood or misrepresented.

The information supplied to you continues to be protected by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 and is subject to NHSBSA copyright. This information is licenced under the terms of the Open Government Licence detailed at:

Should you wish to re-use the information you must include the following statement: “NHSBSA Copyright 2022” This information is licenced under the terms of the Open Government Licence:

Failure to do so is a breach of the terms of the licence.

Information you receive which is not subject to NHSBSA Copyright continues to be protected by the copyright of the person, or organisation, from which the information originated. Please obtain their permission before reproducing any third party (non NHSBSA Copyright) information.

Data and Resources

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Last Updated November 25, 2022, 13:59 (UTC)
Created November 25, 2022, 13:57 (UTC)