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 Pension Advisory Service (TPAS)
If the problem is not resolved the next step for the member is to ask for help from TPAS, who are available for assistance in connection with any pension query.
They can be contacted by writing to:
11 Belgrave Road
Tel: 0845 601 2923
The Pensions Ombudsman may investigate and determine any complaint or dispute of fact or law in relation to an occupational pension scheme. Pension schemes and members must normally go along with the decision of the Ombudsman's decision unless it is overturned by a court. The Pensions Ombudsman's office would expect that members have been through both stages of the IDRP and asked help from TPAS.
Complaints to the Ombudsman must be made within 3 years of the event that the complaint is about or within 3 years of the member becoming aware of the problem.
The Ombudsman's contact details are:
11 Belgrave Road
Tel: 020 7630 2200
Fax: 020 7821 0065
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:
Tel: 0870 606 3636