Should a member disagree with a decision made by their Employer or the Pension Fund there is a two stage complaints process in place. This is known as the Internal Dispute Resolution Procedure (IDRP). It is hoped at Gwynedd Pension Fund that any complaint can be dealt with in an efficient manner without having to resort to the IDRP.
Stage 1: Formal Complaint
A member should make their complaint in writing to whoever they think is at fault- either their Employer or the Pension Fund. This must be done within 6 months of the problem arising. The facts of the case will be examined along with the scheme regulations and a decision will be made regarding the complaint. This reply must be made within 2 months or reasons must be given for the delay in replying.
For complaints against an Employer decision the member must write directly to the Employer.
For complaints against a Pension Fund decision, the member should write to:
Stage 2: Further Appeal
If the member is unhappy with the decision in Stage 1, they will have 6 months in which to appeal at Stage 2. This stage is refereed by an officer appointed by the Pension Fund. Again this appeal must be made in writing and should be accompanied by the decision from Stage 1.
A member can also go straight to Stage 2 if:
- They have gone through Stage 1 and haven’t had a reply within 3 months of making their appeal; or
- They have gone through Stage 1 and haven’t received a decision within a month of the date they were told they would receive it.
Gwynedd Pension Fund has appointed Gwynedd Council’s Head of Legal Services as their appointed officer under Stage 2. All complaints should be sent to the following address:
Head of Legal Services
Again a reply must be made within 2 months of receiving a complaint.
The Money & Pensions Service (MaPS)
The Money & Pensions Service (MaPS) is available at any time to assist scheme members and beneficiaries in connection with queries or difficulties they cannot resolve with the scheme administrator.
MaPS can be contacted by visiting their website: https://moneyandpensionsservice.org.uk , or by telephoning 0800 138 7777.
When a complaint or dispute has not been satisfactorily resolved through the Internal Disputes Resolution Procedure or with the help of MaPS, an application can be made to the Pensions Ombudsman within three years of the event that gave rise to the complaint or dispute. The Ombudsman can investigate and determine any complaint or dispute involving maladministration or matters of fact or law.
The Ombudsman’s decision is final and binding (unless the case is taken to the appropriate court on a point of law). The Ombudsman cannot investigate matters where legal proceedings have already started. Their email address is firstname.lastname@example.org or their telephone number is 0800 917 4487.
The Pensions Regulator
The Pensions Regulator is a pensions watchdog which makes sure schemes are run properly, and protects members against fraud. If a member is worried about the scheme they can report to the Pensions Regulator.
The Regulator's contact details are:
The Pensions Regulator
125-135 Preston Road
Tel: 0345 600 0707