This section looks at what you can do if you are not happy about a decision made about your LGPS pension position.
Who can help you if you have a query or complaint?
If you are in any doubt about your LGPS benefit entitlements, or have a problem or question about your LGPS membership or benefits, please contact your pension fund. They should seek to clarify or put right any misunderstandings or inaccuracies as quickly and efficiently as possible.
If your query is about your contribution rate, please contact your employer's personnel/HR or payroll section so they can explain how they have decided which contribution band you are in.
If you are still dissatisfied with any decision made in relation to the scheme you have the right to have your complaint reviewed under the scheme's Internal Disputes Resolution Procedure. There are also a number of other regulatory bodies that may be able to assist you.
Internal Disputes Resolution Procedure
Stage 1 - in the first instance you should write to the adjudicator appointed by the body who made the decision about which you wish to appeal. You must do this within six months of the date of the notification of the decision or the act or omission about which you are complaining (or such longer period as the adjudicator considers reasonable). This is a formal review of the initial decision or act or omission and is an opportunity for the matter to be reconsidered. The adjudicator will consider your complaint and notify you of his or her decision.
Stage 2 - if you are dissatisfied with the adjudicator's decision, (or their failure to make a decision) you may apply to your pension fund administering authority to have it reconsidered.
Your pension fund can tell you who your employer's/the pension fund's administering authority's adjudicator is and supply you with a more detailed leaflet on the Internal Disputes Resolution Procedure and relevant time limits together with a form to fill in or you can ask your employer.
Other sources of help
The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS)
TPAS provide independent and impartial information about pensions, free of charge, to members of the public. TPAS is available to assist members and beneficiaries of the scheme with any pensions query they may have or any general requests for information or guidance concerning their pension benefits. Their contact details can be found here.
The Pensions Ombudsman (TPO)
The TPO deals only with pension complaints. It can help if you have a complaint or dispute about the administration and/or management of personal and occupational pension schemes. Some examples of the types of complaints it considers are (this list is not exhaustive):
- automatic enrolment
- benefits: including incorrect calculation, failure to pay or late payment
- death benefits
- failure to provide information or act on instructions
- ill health
- interpretation of scheme rules
- misquote or misinformation
You have the right to refer your complaint to TPO free of charge.
There is no financial limit on the amount of money that TPO can make a party award you. Its determinations are legally binding on all parties and are enforceable in court.
Contact with the TPO about a complaint needs to be made within three years of when the event(s) you are complaining about happened - or, if later, within three years of when you first knew about it (or ought to have known about it). There is a discretion for those time limits to be extended.
Contact details for TPO and a link to submit a complaint form online can be found here.
The Pensions Regulator
This is the regulator of work-based pension schemes. The Pensions Regulator has powers to protect members of work-based pension schemes and a wide range of powers to help put matters right, where needed. In extreme cases, the regulator is able to fine trustees or employers, and remove trustees from a scheme. Contact details for the Pensions Regulator can be found here.