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Complaints down by a third

Complaints to the Pensions Ombudsman from occupational scheme members fell by 30 per cent in 2005/06 compared with figures for the previous year.

The annual report shows that the ombudsman received 2,790 new written enquiries to add to 360 brought forward from the previous year, with 2,821 being dealt with during the year.

The ombudsman started 937 investigations and closed 1,226. This is down slightly from last year but Pensions Ombudsman David Laverick says he has been forced to work out of temporary offices with “a rudimentary IT system”.

The most common closed investigations were transfers, calculation of benefits and misleading advice by trus- tees, which showed a slight increase from 2004/05.
Laverick says he has no idea why complaints have fallen after rising by 30 per cent in the last two years but intense media coverage of pensions means the dip has nothing to do with decreased scrutiny.

He says efficiency has been hampered by working in temporary premises while its offices are refurbished but this has now been addressed.

Laverick says: “My staff have largely overcome the adversities of coping with an IT system on the point of collapse and camping out in temporary accommodation.”

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