The Pensions Ombudsman (TPO) has said it expects 1,800 cases to be opened over the 2018/19 financial year, but it only has the resources to deal with 1,400.
According to its 2018-2021 corporate plan published this month, it has "recently been given the go-ahead to recruit additional resource", but due to the lateness of the decision, it will not have staff in post and fully operational until sometime in the third quarter. This additional resource has therefore been ignored for the purposes of forecasting performance in 2018/19, it added.
The Ombudsman provided its data based on its experience in the last three years, adjusted to allow for groups of similar, or even identical, complaints. Over this period, has seen annual growth in new investigations of 7%, according to the document.
It said that based on this experience, it expects to see an increase in 2018/19. The number of cases it opened throughout the year was at 1,151 over 2015/16, 1,333 over 2016/17, and 1,400 over 2017/18.
According to the document it is managing the increase in demand by amending its processes and being more flexible in how staff are deployed. "We will continue to do this in 2018/19 to ensure we keep up with demand in this area."
The Pensions Ombudsman Anthony Arter said in the report: "The forefront of our vision over the next three years is to further shorten and simplify the customer journey while maintaining quality and reaching the right outcome.
"This means not only providing the best possible service, but also continuing to pull together the fragmented pension disputes landscape. All this is set against the background of an increasing number of pension disputes received by us, so we need to work as efficiently as possible if we are to meet the growing demand for our service."
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