Pension Wise staff cut as appointments slump

Pension Wise jenga

The number of people employed by the Government’s flagship guidance service Pension Wise has been cut as appointment bookings drop off from a high in October last year.

When the service launched in April 2015 229 full-time equivalent staff were employed by Citizens Advice to deliver face-to-face guidance. Staff numbers have since fallen to 211 at the end of December, the Treasury and Citizens Advice have confirmed.

In addition, the number of delivery centres providing appointments has gone up, from 124 to 130 across England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

A Citizens Advice spokeswoman says the increase was planned before the service’s launch.

Figures published this week show the number of appointments has been steadily falling since October while the cost per session has been rising. The average cost of appointments has increased to £516 per session, a rise of 4.2 per cent compared to November.

Government statistics published today show there were 3,205 appointments in December, down from a high of 6,755 in October.

A Treasury spokesperson says: “Less than one year since its launch, Pension Wise has been a great success – there have been 2m visits to the website and over 43,000 appointments, with satisfaction remaining high.

“To ensure as many people as possible know about the service, we’ve run two national TV, Radio, print and digital marketing campaigns and are continuing to work with Citizens Advice on marketing materials which their guiders can use to promote Pension Wise locally.”