If the complaint is about you
These pages are for people against whom complaints have been brought. We call these respondents.
When we receive a complaint, we will not always contact the respondent straight away (and sometimes we will not need to do so at all).
We make an initial decision on whether we can accept a complaint based on the papers that we receive. However, sometimes we might need to make enquiries by contacting the complainant, the respondents or third parties.
When we have all the information needed, we will make a decision about whether we can investigate the complaint. If we cannot we will write to the complainant and explain why. This letter will also explain how they can challenge our decision. We will not usually write to you if the complaint is not going to be investigated.
If we can investigate a complaint, we will let the complainant know. At the same time we will write to you saying that we have accepted a complaint against you for investigation. We will also send you a copy of the letter we send to the complainant outlining the complaint. At this stage you do not need to take any action as we will write to you after our investigation commences. If you do not consider that we have the power to investigate the complaint, you should write to us and explain why.
Investigating a complaint
An investigator will handle the investigation.
There is no set way an investigation will proceed. The investigator has a degree of flexibility in how it will be carried out and there are several ways in which it can move forward. Depending on the circumstances of each case the Ombudsman does not always need to be involved. Examples of how a complaint could be dealt with include:
- If it is clear from either the initial papers or after further investigation that the Ombudsman would not uphold a complaint, the investigator may write to the complainant explaining why. If the complainant does not agree with the investigator’s view they can ask the Ombudsman to consider the matter.
- The investigator may contact the parties involved and let them know what should be done to put matters right. This will be based on what the investigator thinks the Ombudsman would do if he considered the matter. This may lead to the matter being resolved.
- After receiving formal responses, the investigator may write to one or more of the respondents and explain why they think the complaint should be upheld. If they do all parties will be given the opportunity to respond to that view before that matter is finalised.
- The Ombudsman may issue his preliminary conclusions on the outcome of the complaint. All parties will be invited to comment on the preliminary conclusions before the matter is finalised by formal Determination.
If we ask you for a formal response, you should reply including:
- your views;
- relevant supporting evidence;
- answers to any specific questions;
- on ill health cases, information as set out in the ill health guide,
which will be provided at the time.
More information is set out in the ‘Instructions and Guidance for Respondents’, which can be viewed in the publications section of our website.
You can deal with the Pensions Ombudsman’s office yourself or you can appoint a representative, such as a solicitor, to act for you. Whether you seek professional representation is a matter for you and you will usually have to pay the costs of this.
Your formal response will be supplied to the other party or parties for any comments they may have. Similarly, you will receive copies of others’ responses. We may ask for further information after we have received your responses.