Making a decision and appeals
These pages are for employer use only. Member information can be found on the home page.
When you're making any decision you must issue a clear statement to accompany your decision which should tell the member:
- The decision that has been made
- How you reached the decision
- How the member meets or doesn't meet the rules under the regulations
- How you've referred to any professional opinion (such as an Independent Registered Medical Practitioner for ill-health cases)
- Information on how the member can appeal the decision (under regulations 74 and 76 of the LGPS regulations, the right of appeal under internal dispute resolution procedure (IDRP)), including the timescales and the job title and address of the person nominated at your organisation to deal with appeals.
Specifically for ill-health decisions, if benefits are being awarded, you should also tell the member in your decision notice:
- The tier of ill-health benefit being awarded
- If tier 3 benefits have been awarded, that there'll be a review at 18 months
You can find more information about ill-health decisions on the ill-health retirement for active members webpage.
If a member isn’t happy about a decision you’ve made about their pension, they've the right to make their complaint reviewed under the Scheme’s Internal Disputes Resolution Procedure. Members should contact you (as their employer, if you're the decision maker) before following IDRP. Sometimes, if there’s a misunderstanding, or miscommunication, this can be explained and put right straightaway.
However if, after contacting you, they’re still unhappy, they should follow the IDRP. More detailed information about the IDRP process can be found in the appeals booklet (link under Related Documents).
First stage appeal
To appeal under IDRP, the member should write to your nominated appeals person within six months of the decision and they should receive a written reply within two months of the date of the complaint. The reply should either provide a decision about the appeal, or will acknowledge the complaint if it hasn't been possible for the nominated person to issue a decision within the two month period. It should explain the reasons for the delay and provide an expected date for issuing a decision.
Second stage appeal
If they aren’t happy after following a first stage appeal, they've a further six months to make a second stage appeal. This should be sent to the person nominated at the administering authority. The appointed person is: Head of Legal & Democratic Services, Shropshire Council, Shirehall, Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury, SY2 6ND.
If the member still isn't happy after going through IDRP, they can appeal to The Pensions Ombudsman (TPO).
TPO solely deals with pension complaints. They can help if a member has a complaint or dispute about the administration (including transfers) and/or management of their pension.
Some examples of types of complaints it considers include:
- auto enrolment
- benefit queries - incorrect calculation/refusal/failure to pay or late payment
- death benefits
- failure to provide information/act on instructions
- interpretation of scheme rules/policy terms
There is no financial limit on the amount of money that TPO can make you award. Its determinations are legally binding on all the parties and are enforceable in court.
Contact with TPO about a complaint needs to be made within three years of when the event(s) the member is complaining about happened – or, if later, within three years of when they first knew about it (or ought to have known about it). There is discretion for those time limits to be extended.
TPO can be contacted at: 10 South Colonnade, Canary Wharf, E14 4PU
Tel: 0800 917 4487
Members can also fill in a complaint form online.