15th August 2011
TO: ALL OFFICIALS
FAIRER COMMUTATION CAMPAIGN – PENSION OMBUDSMAN’S RESPONSE TO GAD QUESTIONS
Officials and members have received several updates on the Fairer Commutation Campaign and will be aware that the issue has been with the Pension Ombudsman for a substantial length of time.
Progress on this issue has been very slow, although the Legal Advisor and Investigator assigned to the case has been in regular contact with my office on behalf of the Pension Ombudsman.
As part of the ongoing process the Pension Ombudsman wrote to the FBU on 27th July 2011 outlining his findings in relation to questions raised by the Government Actuary’s Department (GAD).
This correspondence deals with issues raised by GAD around three specific issues:
1. Time limits;
2. The Administrator question;
The paperwork refers to one case only. This case was one of six test cases selected by the Pension Ombudsman with an agreement that any decision will apply to the other complaints.
GAD submits a position that the complaint was lodged too late and that it should be time barred. The Pension Ombudsman explains the reasoning for his decision on this issue and his conclusion accepts that the FBU submissions, made in a letter of 11th May 2011, are not time barred.
The Administrator question
GAD submits an argument that any investigation, if not time barred, should be confined to alleged maladministration that occurred on or after 6th April 2005 because prior to this date there was no mechanism under which this could have been made. The Pension Ombudsman explains that GAD had a statutory duty prior to this date and concludes that he may investigate not only after 6th April 2005 but also before.
GAD submits an argument that there was no maladministration on or after 6th April 2005. The Pension Ombudsman concludes that this member has made a complaint that is within jurisdiction and potentially has substance. He concludes that normal investigative procedures should be followed.
This correspondence from the Pension Ombudsman confirms that the full investigation will proceed.
Officials and members will receive any updates as they become available via Head Office circulars and the FBU website www.fbu.org.uk
Yours in Unity,