Pensions Ombudsman  

Cabinet Office accused of maladministration by ombudsman

Cabinet Office accused of maladministration by ombudsman

The Civil Service Pension Scheme has been told to compensate one of its members after losing his death benefits nomination forms twice.

The case – partially upheld by the Pensions Ombudsman – was brought by Mr Y, who was informed in 2014 by the Cabinet Office that the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme administrator had changed to MyCSP, and some of his personal information was lost in the process.

Mr Y said he was “horrified” by the news and after several years of trying to restore the data – which included his death benefits nomination form - he raised a complaint with the scheme.

The complaint was rejected in June 2017 as he didn’t allow access to his personal information which he claimed was missing.

Nevertheless, the administrator offered £100 in compensation for his expenses including telephone calls and postage of letters, and because a new death benefits form had been sent to the wrong address.

Mr Y appealed but in March 2018 the Cabinet Office rejected the appeal.

The government officials told Mr Y they emphasised with his concerns about data protection after the documents were lost but assured him there were no breaches, as the records weren’t held in paper form.

The error was most likely due to either information being deleted during the transfer, or that it couldn’t be transferred and was then securely deleted by the PCSPS’ previous administrator.

Mr Y was also told that MyCSP now holds the correct nominee details and apologised and offered financial compensation.

Mr Y referred the case to TPO.

The adjudicator found the Cabinet Office had wrongly assumed that the matter had been resolved, rather than checking if the new administrator had the correct information on Mr Y’s death benefit beneficiaries.  

In fact, Mr Y had sent a new signed form to MyCSP in an attempt to fill in the gaps on his record, which appeared to have been lost as well.

The Cabinet Office offered £400 in compensation in addition to the previous £100 offered by the administrator, which Mr Y didn’t accept.

Pensions ombudsman Anthony Arter decided the case amounted to maladministration by both MyCSP and the Cabinet Office.

However, “their maladministration hasn’t resulted in him incurring a financial loss,” he noted, which is why he partly upheld Mr Y’s complain.

He instructed both parties to pay the previously offered compensation amounts to Mr Y.

maria.espadinha@ft.com

What do you think about the issues raised by this story? Email us on fa.letters@ft.com to let us know.