The Department For Work & Pensions has decided against amending pension ombudsman regulations to all...
The Department For Work & Pensions has decided against amending pension ombudsman regulations to allow the scheme-wide application of individual rulings.
At present, determinations by the ombudsman are on a case-by-case basis and the amendments proposed extending these to all similar classes of beneficiary within the same occupational pension scheme.
Rachel Vahey, deputy manager of pensions development at Scottish Equitable, said the sheer logistics of extending ombudsman rulings have proved more challenging than the Government originally expected and she is hopeful it finds a way to bring the changes in as part of its ongoing Green Paper simplification.
As for the potential benefits of the wider application of ombudsman rulings, she feels it would help to ensure such measures as the equalisation of guaranteed minimum pensions.
Proposals on extending ombudsman rulings were set out in Section 54 of the Pensions and Social Security Act 2000 and consequential amendments to the Personal and Occupational Pension Schemes (Pensions Ombudsman) (Procedure) Rules 1995.
Commenting on the decision, pensions minister Ian McCartney said: 'We are concerned that the changes made by Section 54 would not be as beneficial as originally envisaged and would add a further layer of complexity to an area of legislation that needs to be simplified. This would not be in line with Government policy, which is to simplify the rules governing disputes and complaints about pensions whenever possible. The principles underlying the changes are sound but we want to explore how they can be made to work as effectively as possible.'
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