Internal Dispute Resolution Procedure From the day a person starts a job with an employer, to the day when benefits or dependant’s benefits are paid, the employer and the Pension Scheme administering authority have to make decisions under the Pension Scheme rules that affect the member (or their dependants). When the member (this includes dependants) is notified of a decision they should check, as far as they can, that it is based on the correct details and that they agree with the decision.
If they are not satisfied with any decision affecting them made in relation to the Scheme, they have the right to ask for it to be looked at again under the formal complaint procedure. They also have a right to use the procedure if a decision should have been made by their employer or administering authority, but it hasn’t been. The complaint procedure’s official name is the “internal dispute resolution procedure” (IDRP).
The following gives an overview of the IDRP process:
If a member needs to make a formal complaint, they should make it:
- in writing, and
- normally within 6 months of the day when they were told of the decision they want to complain about.
The complaint will be considered carefully by a person nominated by the body that took the decision against which the member wishes to complain. This guide calls them the “nominated person”. That person is required to give the member their decision in writing.
If the nominated person’s decision is contrary to the decision the member complained about, the employer or administering authority that made that original decision will now have to deal with your case in accordance with the nominated person’s decision.
If the decision the member complained about concerned the exercise of discretion by the employer or administering authority, and the nominated person decides that the employer or administering authority should reconsider how they exercised their discretion, they will be required to reconsider their original decision.
The member can ask the pension scheme administering authority to take a fresh look at the complaint in any of the following circumstances:
- the member is not satisfied with the nominated person’s first-stage decision,
- the member has not received a decision or an interim letter from the nominated person, and it is 3 months since the member lodged your complaint,
- it is one month after the date by which the nominated person told the member (in an interim letter) that they would give them a decision, and they have still not received that decision.
This review would be undertaken by a person not involved in the first stage decision. The member will need to send the appropriate administering authority their complaint in writing. The time limits for making the complaint are set out within the IDRP Employee’s Guide (see link below). The administering authority will consider the complaint and give you their decision in writing.
If the member is still unhappy following the administering authority’s second stage decision, they can take the case to the Pensions Ombudsman provided they do so within 3 years from the date of the original decision (or lack of a decision) about which the member is complaining.
If a member approaches you because they are unhappy with a decision made please ask them to contact this office in the first instance as many issues can be resolved without the need to resort to the lengthy process of IDRP. It could simply be that there is a misunderstanding of the Regulations and that the decision made is in fact correct and this can be explained to the member accordingly.