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Operating Model Review - A blog by Robert Loughlin


In this blog, our Chief Operating Officer Robert Loughlin, reflects on his first three months in post and talks about our ‘root and branch’ Operating Model review, including some of the ideas we have for reducing our waiting times and improving the service we offer to our customers.  

"Having been in post for three months now I have been reflecting on the valuable role we play in the pensions sector and the challenges we need to overcome to ensure we are providing an excellent service to our customers – both pension scheme members and those working in the industry. While we have a lot to do, I’m really pleased with the progress we are making and the fantastic momentum that we have achieved across the organisation. In particular, after an in-depth review of our Operating Model, we now have a clear plan for tackling our historical caseload and reducing our queue lengths and waiting times.  

The purpose of our operating model review, which began last year, is to explore all potential options for improved efficiency across our ‘customer journey’ – from the way complaints are submitted to the way decisions are made and communicated. The goal is to provide earlier resolution of complaints, with fewer handovers between our internal teams.  

Some of the improvements will lead to small changes – the niggles that get in the way of our day to day working. Others are more revolutionary and will involve a significant shift in the way we currently operate.  

During this year there are three areas that we will be prioritising:

  • Resolution Team changes – The conditions for our Resolution Team being able to investigate a complaint will be tightened and will require complainants to demonstrate that they have exhausted the respondent’s formal complaints process (such as an occupational pension scheme’s IDRP).
  • Expedited Determinations – we will be extending the use of short-form decisions and Determinations for appropriate cases at all stages of our processes. This will bring forward our decision-making in these cases and reduce the number of hand-offs between different teams.
  • Our thresholds for accepting complaints – we will also be exploring whether there are certain categories of complaints that are more appropriately dealt with by other organisations and whether a de minimis threshold should be applied in some circumstances.  

Timescales for implementation

We will deliver the full programme of changes over the next three years but have set ourselves the ambitious target of achieving an improved position over the next 12-18 months. We recognise that achieving this will be a challenge as we are a small organisation with limited capacity but are fully committed to the need to find better ways of working and have re-organised our internal resource to deliver a successful transformation.

We will, of course, keep stakeholders up to date as our plans progress and as we start to implement improvements over the summer. Jenn Ryans, Deputy Chief Operating Officer – Casework, and I will be holding a session at our Stakeholder Forum on 27 June to discuss our plans in more detail and answer any questions. Please do come along to this in-person event to share your feedback and contribute any of your own ideas for improvement. You can also stay up to date by signing up to our newsletter to receive all the latest updates direct to your inbox."

Related news

  • Notice of oral hearing: July 2024
    There will be a hearing on 23 July 2024 at 10.00am at the office of The Pensions Ombudsman, 10 South Colonnade, Canary Wharf, E14 4PU, as part of The Pensions Ombudsman’s investigation of complaints made by two applicants against the Trustees of the Embolden Executive Pension Scheme.
  • Volunteers' Week - An interview with TPO Volunteer Mark Threipland
    Mark Threipland recently joined The Pensions Ombudsman (TPO) as a Volunteer Adviser, helping members of the public informally resolve problems they have with their occupational or personal pension. He kindly agreed to be interviewed as part of our communications highlighting the work of our volunteers during Volunteers’ Week.