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Local Government Pension Scheme (PO-14629)

Complainant: Mr N
Complaint Topic: Interpretation of scheme rules/policy terms
Ref: PO-14629
Outcome: Partly upheld
Appeal outcome: None
Respondent: City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council
Type: Pension complaint or dispute
Date:
Appeal: No

Ombudsman’s Determination

Outcome

The 2003 and 2005 complaints are not upheld, but the 2008 complaint is upheld. This is because:-

· The 2003 and 2005 complaints fall outside my jurisdiction because they were made outside of the time limits within which legislation requires that a complaint should be brought to me to investigate and determine. The 2003 and 2005 complaints are also affected by the limitation periods imposed by the Limitation Act 1980 (the Limitation Act) and, as a result, I would be unable to provide Mr N with a remedy in respect of those complaints. Even if it could be argued that all of Mr N’s complaints were made within the time limits, thereby falling within my jurisdiction, I do not consider that the 2003 and 2005 complaints could be upheld on the merits. I find no acts of maladministration in respect of the 2003 and 2005 complaints.

· The 2008 complaint is upheld because WYPF did not inform Mr N about the change to the 2008 abatement policy. This failing amounts to a breach of WYPF’s duty of care to keep Mr N informed of a change which affected his pension entitlement, causing Mr N to miss out on active membership of the Scheme from 2008 to 2014.

Complaint summary

Mr N has made the following complaints:-

· WYPF used the incorrect salary in the earnings test it performed in 2003 to determine if abatement would apply to his pension due to his re-employment. He was told that, because he was re-employed by an admitted body to the Scheme, the re-employment rules would not apply to him provided he did not join the Scheme. Mr N considers that, if his correct salary had been used in the 2003 calculations, he would not have been subject to an abatement and, if he had been told as much, he would have remained a member of the Scheme from 2003 up to his second retirement in 2015. He says his loss is membership of the Scheme between September 2003 and November 2014 and the pension he would have accrued during that period. He would like this membership re-instated to put the matter right (the 2003 complaint).

· If it is found that abatement should have applied from 2003, Mr N complains that WYPF did not inform him when the abatement policy was altered in 2005 with the effect that no abatement applied to re-employments. Mr N says that, had he been made aware, he would have re-joined the Scheme from this point. His loss is membership of the Scheme from 2005 up to the date of his auto-enrolment on 1 November 2014 (the 2005 complaint).

· If it is found that abatement should have applied from 2003 and the 2005 change is not applicable to Mr N, he complains that WYPF did not inform him when the abatement policy was altered in 2008 so that no abatement applied to all re-employments. Mr N says that, had he been made aware, he would have re-joined the Scheme from this point. His loss is membership of the Scheme from 2008 up to his auto-enrolment in the Scheme on 1 November 2014 (the 2008 complaint).

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