Neil Buxton (Technical Specialist Pensions Fund Policy and Governance) stated that all pension schemes require a grievance process around pension entitlement for members. In the Local Government Pension Scheme, the employer will deal with issues like the amount that the member will pay in or the benefits that the member is entitled to. If there was an ill health retirement, the employer will decide with medical advice, whether it was tier one, two or three case. The fund administrator would calculate the benefit entitlement amount payable to the member. Most pension disputes were informally resolved by the pension team. If a scheme member appeals against a decision made by their employer, the employer will appoint an independent nominated person (who has not been involved with the case before) to review the circumstances of the case. If the appeal is successful, the member’s entitlement will be reviewed, if not, the member can escalate their grievance to Stage 2 of the process and their case will be reviewed by the Chief Executive of the County Council who can seek advice from independent advisers. Following this stage, if the member remains dissatisfied, they may contact the Pension Ombudsman to review their grievance and ultimately on to the High Court. Neil Buxton confirmed that Warwickshire’s Pension Fund information sheets and claim forms for the dispute procedures had also been reviewed and updated.
In response to the Chair, Neil Buxton stated that few disputes were considered under the procedure but the ones that were received were mainly related to ill health entitlement.
In response to Councillor Dirveiks, Neil Buxton stated that the forms were available online, but paper copies of any disputes would need to be sent to the pensions team.
That the Staff and Pensions Committee note and comment on the Internal Dispute Resolution Procedures.