A report has found "serious failures" in the management of pensions for Barnet Council.

An internal audit report, discussed at the council's audit committee on January 31, showed two high-risk failures in Capita's pensions administration for Barnet Council.

According to the Barnet Labour group, the failures identified were the quality of the data, and the preparation of the annual benefit statement.

Extra to this, the group said the report also found problems with retirement benefit calculations, a lack of a communications strategy, incomplete new member records, delays in transfers out of the fund, a lack of any policy on breaches of the law, and problems with the governance of the scheme, which would have made it hard for the council to identify if laws had been breached in the first place.

Cllr Arjun Mittra, an audit committee member and Labour spokesman for pensions, said: "Capita are doing a disastrous job managing the council’s pensions administration.

"This report is shocking when you remember how the Capita contract was sold to the public as getting the best in the business in to run services, and they were expert administrators. Nothing could be further from the truth.

"They are so poor that they wouldn’t know if a breach of the law had taken place, and even if they did, they didn't have a policy to deal with it until last October, four years into the contract."

The Labour group also said Barnet Council, as administering authority, is currently subject to scrutiny by The Pensions Regulator after failing to submit its 2016 annual pensions return, which meant the regulator fined Barnet Council £1,000 for the failure.

A Barnet Council spokesperson said: "A service improvement plan has been agreed with Capita, which is being scrutinised by Barnet's Local Pensions Board.

"The Improvement Plan has also been shared with The Pensions Regulator. Discussions are ongoing with the regulator to ensure that agreed improvements are being achieved."

A spokesperson from Capita said: "We have a robust plan in place to enhance the pension service we provide Barnet Council and, working closely with them, are delivering against agreed targets."