LGPS and the Hampshire Pension Scheme complaints and internal dispute resolution (IDRP) procedures
Hampshire Pension Fund – complaints procedure
If you are dissatisfied with the way your pension scheme membership has been dealt with, please contact Pensions Services as most problems can be sorted out quickly. We will be happy to put right any mistake that may have occurred and an informal enquiry of this kind may save you a lot of time and trouble.
How do I make a complaint?
If you are still dissatisfied and want to make a formal complaint, please write to:
Director of Corporate Resources
What happens and how long will it take?
The complaint will be investigated by a senior manager and a full reply will be given to you. If we’ve got something wrong, we will do our best to put it right. We will admit our mistakes and offer a full apology. We will also review our policies and procedures to try and stop it happening again.
We will acknowledge your complaint within five working days from the date of receipt and tell you how long it will take to give you a full reply. We try to respond quickly to complaints and to reply to you within 20 working days.
Sometimes, due to the complexity of the complaint, we will not be able to meet this timescale. If this happens we will write to you and keep you fully informed of the progress being made.
Internal Dispute Resolution Procedure (IDRP)
Making an informal enquiry, or formal complaint, does not affect your statutory right to have your dispute heard under the Internal Dispute Resolution Procedure (IDRP).
From the day you join the pension scheme, to the day when benefits or dependants’ benefits are paid, decisions are made under the pension scheme rules that affect you (or your dependants). When you (this includes dependants) are notified of a decision, you should check, as far as you can, that it is based on the correct details and that you agree with the decision.
If you are not satisfied with any decision affecting you made in relation to the Scheme, you have the right to ask for it to be looked at again under the IDRP. You also have a right to use the procedure if a decision should have been made by your employer or administering authority, but it hasn’t been.
Stage one of the IDRP
You must put a dispute in writing, and send it within six months of receiving the decision you are disputing, either to your employer or to the County Council, as explained below.
- If the dispute concerns a decision taken by an employer other than the County Council, then you must write to that employer.
- If the dispute concerns a decision taken by the County Council as your employer, then you must write to the Head of Employment Practice (or Head of Education Personnel if you are a school based member of staff).
- If the dispute concerns a decision taken by the County Council as the “administering authority” for Hampshire (i.e. a decision taken by Pensions Services) then you must write to the Director of Corporate Resources.
Your complaint will be considered carefully by a person nominated by the body that took the decision against which you wish to complain. That person is required to give you their decision in writing, within two months of receiving your appeal.
If the nominated person’s decision is contrary to the decision you complained about, the employer or administering authority who made that original decision will now have to deal with your case in accordance with the nominated person’s decision.
If the decision you complained about concerned the exercise of a discretion by the employer or administering authority, and the nominated person decides that the employer or administering authority should reconsider how they exercised their discretion, they will be required to reconsider their original decision.
Any decision must be given to you in writing, stating the legislation relied upon and let you know that if you are still dissatisfied you have the right to go to stage two of the IDRP within six months of receiving the stage one decision.
Help and support
At any point in the IDRP process you can ask for help from the Pensions Advisory Service, whose address is:
11 Belgrave Road
Telephone: 0845 601 2923
Stage two of the IDRP
If you are still dissatisfied, you or your representative must put your signed dispute in writing, enclosing a copy of the stage one decision, and send it within six months of receiving the stage one decision, to:
The Clerk to the Pensions Appeals Panel
Chief Executive’s Department
Hampshire County Council
Your appeal will be heard in Winchester by a panel of elected County Councillors, advised by the Head of Corporate and Legal Services, who is the County Council’s Monitoring Officer, which is a statutory appointment under the Local Government and Housing Act 1989. Your case will be put to the panel in writing and you may also appear in person and be accompanied by a representative.
The panel’s decision must be given to you in writing and state the legislation relied upon and that if the dispute or complaint cannot be resolved after the intervention of the Pensions Advisory Service (tPAS) then you can apply for an adjudication to the Pensions Ombudsman within three years of the event which gave rise to it.
The Pensions Ombudsman can investigate and determine any complaint or dispute involving maladministration or matters of fact or law and his decision is final and binding, but matters where legal proceedings have already started cannot be investigated. His address is the same as for tPAS.
11 Belgrave Road
Telephone: 0845 601 2923
What do you do if you are unhappy with the decision of your ill-health retirement?
If you are unhappy with any decision to do with your ill-health retirement, you should contact your employer who can advise of their process for dealing with disputes of this nature.
If you are unable to resolve any issues on an informal basis, you can go through the Internal Dispute Resolution Process (IDRP). Please note any dispute under the IDRP process must be put in writing within six months of receiving the decision you are disputing.
Payment of Deferred Pension Benefits
If you have a deferred LGPS pension you can ask for it to be paid early and you would need to write to your former employer if you wanted to ask for these benefits to be paid early on the grounds of ill health.