News type:
Wed 8 Jun 2016

The Pensions Ombudsman Service has started publishing opinions issued by its adjudicators as well as formal Ombudsman determinations.

Opinions are published on the Pensions Ombudsman Service website ( if:

  • they are appealed to the Pensions Ombudsman or Deputy Ombudsman; or
  • are considered to be of interest.

An opinion of interest might be one where an administration error occurred and as a result the scheme noticed similar errors were occurring as it was systematic and changed their procedure accordingly.

We have also introduced anonymisation for all new published decisions. Introduced last month, this new approach means all decisions will generally be anonymised, ie have the name of the person making the complaint as well as any other identifying personal data removed – unless such data is essential for understanding the decision.

In certain cases, we may decide not to anonymise the decision. Examples might be:

  • where the case is a particularly notable one with wider public interest implications;
  • where we are setting a precedent; or
  • where the name of the person making the complaint is actually relevant to the issue – perhaps a claim to a pension entitlement where the policy cannot be found or has been allocated to someone else.

If we are considering not anonymising a decision, or we are asked to do so by a party to the complaint, we will ask all parties involved in the complaint for their comments. However, ultimately, this will be a matter for the Ombudsman to decide on a case-by-case basis.

Claire Ryan, Legal Director at the Pensions Ombudsman Service said, “The publication of a wider range of our decisions reinforces our intention to be open, transparent and accountable to the public.

“Our new policy on anonymisation reflects the prevailing approach of dispute handling schemes towards increased protection of personal information, while maintaining transparency in demonstrating our work and findings and giving guidance to the industry and consumers.”