UK - The pensions ombudsman is urging the government to begin industry simplicity by making wholesale changes to the way his office operates.
David Laverick – speaking exclusively to IPN's sister magazine Professional Pensions – expressed his dismay that his office was “far too complicated”.
Laverick said he was in discussion with the department for work and pensions over changes to the current system and hopes they will come through in the Green Paper.
He said: “I’m in favour of more simplicity – starting with simplicity for my office.”
Laverick explained that currently there was a “complicated matrix” of options that needed to be considered before accepting a complaint.
“You have to look at what the complaint is, what class they are in, what they are complaining about, who they are complaining about. You’ve got to fit all that together and say: ‘Is this a complaint I can look at?’.”
Laverick believes the starting point should be to say that “any complaint about pensions” is within the ombudsman’s jurisdiction.
“There may be good reason to say there are certain complaints one cannot look at – for instance where the matter has already been subject to litigation.
“But, otherwise, I propose that everything is in. That way, there is a limited list of people that can’t make complaints.”
He also wants simpler principles for the internal dispute resolution (IDR) procedure.
Laverick explained: “I’d say the ombudsman couldn’t investigate a complaint unless the respondent had been given the opportunity themselves to investigate and reply to it. But, I wouldn’t specify how that process ought to happen.”
And Laverick said he “wasn’t unhappy” the DWP decided to shelve plans to extend his powers to make determinations that would affect the interests of people not party to the original complaint.
Laverick said the “machinery that was envisaged” would have led to “vast amounts of paper and mass expenditure”.
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