Department for Work & Pensions  

Veteran civil servant named chair of Tpas

Veteran civil servant named chair of Tpas

Veteran civil servant Ann Harris has been named permanent chair of The Pensions Advisory Service, five months after the departure of her predecessor Museji Takolia.

Mr Takolia's resigned in October after reportedly being declared bankrupt. Ms Harris was appointed interim chair at that time.

Her permanent appointment comes as the Department for Work and Pensions prepares to merge Tpas, Pension Wise and the Money Advice Service into as single finance guidance body.

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The final details of this body have yet to be revealed, and DWP was unable to confirm what role if any Ms Harris would play in it.

Tpas provides consumers with free guidance on pensions through a number of channels including telephone, web chat, written and online enquiries, and events.

Ms Harris will oversee the running of the service, working with chief executive Michelle Cracknell.

Her civil service career has spanned 40 years, with roles in finance and programme management. She was awarded an OBE in 2009 for her services to DWP.

Minister of State for Pensions, Richard Harrington said Ms Harris would bring "a wealth of experience and skills" to Tpas.

"With more than 178,000 customers, and more than 2.7 million visits to its website in the past year, Tpas’ services are very much in demand so it’s vital it attracts a senior leader of such high calibre," Mr Harrington said.

Ms Harris said she was "delighted" to be appointed Tpas chair.

"This is an exciting time for Tpas, as it prepares for the proposed transition to a new single finance guidance body.

"I am determined that it continues to deliver its core business of giving people professional, independent and impartial help with their private pensions," she said.

DWP is currently reviewing stakeholder submissions on how the single finance guidance body should be organised. 

In a speech in February, Mr Harrington said the body could cover other financial areas beyond pensions, such as mortgage advice.

james.fernyhough@ft.com