UK - Lawyers have criticised the Department for Work and Pensions for continuing to drag its heels over extending the pensions ombudsman's remit to include class actions.
Hundreds of claims are on hold pending these changes to the ombudsman’s jurisdiction. A consultation – set up to review changes in regulations – ended seven months ago.
Linklaters pensions litigation partner Mark Blyth said there was hope that the DWP would release something after the Green Paper.
But the department has only confirmed that it is still “considering the proposals”.
Blyth said: “We are in limbo at the moment. There are cases piling up waiting for the instruction of the guidance or not. The DWP needs to get off the fence.”
The ombudsman’s office admitted that it had had no word from the government on the issue.
Last year, it was revealed that many lawyers believe the move has been shelved after the Association of Pensions Lawyers branded the changes as “unworkable”. (Ombudsman group claims ‘shelved after protests’, November 8).
And APL chairman David Pollard is doubtful there will be any changes to the ombudsman’s jurisdiction before the wider recommendations come out of the Green Paper.
Pollard said: “The ombudsman raised the question of the powers of his office in his evidence to the select committee.
“My assumption is that the DWP is looking at his office generally as part of the Green Paper.”
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