The City and County of Swansea Pension Fund administers the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) on behalf of more than 20 employers eligible to participate in the Scheme.
The aim of the Pension Fund is to provide a high quality cost effective service delivery to all our customers, this applies to prospective, active, deferred and pensioner members along with fund employers and external bodies. We are happy to receive any feedback or compliments from our customers whether negative or positive. If however you feel that the Section has failed to honour our commitment and the customer service that you have received from us was less than satisfactory there is a complaint process in place. Please note any complaint(s) received is taken seriously and a review is undertaken with the aim of delivering an improved service. Information about the Compliments and Complaints Policy is reported in the Funds Annual Report.
Compliment and Complaint Procedure
- As a bilingual authority, we welcome any comments, compliments or complaints in either English, Welsh (and other languages upon request) Braille or large print etc and a response will be sent to you in your preferred communication mode.
- Should you wish to make a comment(s), compliment(s) or a complaint(s), please contact the Pension Section in writing either by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Pension Section, Civic Centre, Oystermouth Road, Swansea SA1 3SN
Upon receipt of a complaint, we will:
- Send written confirmation within 5 working days from receipt of your correspondence acknowledging the complaint.
- Aim to resolve the complaint within 10 working days from date of receipt. However if your complaint is of a complex nature the resolution time may take longer than 10 days. In this instance, we will provide regular updates confirming how long the process will take.
- We will deal with your complaint in an open and honest way and will make sure that your dealings with us in the future do not suffer just because you have made a complaint.
In accordance with our commitment to equality, it is our aim to uphold your right to confidentiality and privacy at all times and to be treated fairly.
Depending on the nature of the complaint, it may be necessary during the investigation to meet with the individual who has raised the complaint to ascertain further facts and to discuss in greater detail the concerns raised.
Upon completion of the investigation into the complaint, confirmation of the findings will be sent to you in your preferred communication mode for example email or in letter.
If the investigation concludes that, we have failed in our service delivery, along with our apologies you will be provided with an explanation into how this has happened and confirmation of the changes that have been made to prevent the same thing happening again.
What we expect from our customers
All complainants have the right to be heard, understood and respected however, in times of trouble or distress; some people may act out of character and there may have been upsetting or distressing circumstances leading up to a complaint. We do not view behaviour as unacceptable just because someone is forceful or determined.
The Pension Section staff have the same rights as the customers and that is to be treated in a fair and respectful manner therefore we will not tolerate an individual who demonstrates aggression or abusive behaviour with unreasonable demands.
If a complainant is considered to be acting in an unreasonable manner, restrictions on contact may be implemented in accordance with the Councils unreasonable customer behaviour policy: www.swansea.gov.uk/behaviour
What to do if you are dissatisfied with the outcome of the investigation into your complaint
If you are unhappy with the Department’s response, you should then complain to that Department as a Stage 2 Complaint in line with the Council’s Complaints Policy and Procedure. For further information, please refer to the following: https://www.swansea.gov.uk/article/7326/Corporate-complaints-procedure
Stage 2 Complaints
- If you have not received a response from the Service Department within 10 working days without good reason, or you have received an explanation or response with which you are still unhappy, you can refer your complaint to the Complaints Team, Telephone: (01792) 637345, or email email@example.com
- The Complaints Team will review your complaint on behalf of the Chief Executive.
- Your complaint will be logged and you will receive a response within 20 working days. Sometimes it may take longer, but you will be kept informed if this is likely to be the case.
What if you are still dissatisfied?
Complaining to the Ombudsman
If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your complaint, having pursued it through the two complaint stages, you may wish to refer the matter to the Pensions Ombudsman
The Ombudsman can investigate and determine any complaint or dispute concerning the administration and or management of occupational pension schemes.
If your complaint or dispute cannot be resolved, you can submit an application within 3 years of the event(s) that you are complaining about or within three years of when you first knew about it (or ought to have known about it). There is discretion for the time limits to be extended.
The Pensions Ombudsman
10 South Colonnade
Tel No: 0800 917 4487
Website – www.pensions-ombudsman.org.uk
If you have any general pension queries or are seeking guidance concerning your pension please contact The Money and Pensions Service:
The Money and Pensions Service
Tel No: 0800 138 7777 or 01159 659570
The Money and Pensions Service is a regulator of work-based pension schemes and have powers to protect members against fraud. If you have any concerns about a Pension Scheme, you can report your concerns by contacting The Money and Pensions Service at:
Tel No: 0345 0600 0707
Internal Dispute Resolution Procedure
Should you disagree with a decision made by your Employer or Pension Fund in relation to your benefits from the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS), there is a two-stage complaints process in place known as the Internal Dispute Resolution Procedure (IDRP).
You are able to make a complaint under the IDRP if you are:
- a Prospective Member, who is thinking of joining the scheme;
- an Active Member, who is currently contributing to the scheme;
- a Deferred Member, who has left the scheme, but your benefits remain in the Pension Fund; or
- a Pension Member, who is currently in receipt of a pension benefit from the Pension Fund.
When making your complaint, you are able to choose someone else to represent your case – a friend, relative, solicitor or union representative for example.
Stage 1: Formal Complaint
You should complain in writing to whoever you think is at fault, either your Employer or the Pension Fund, by completing the detachable application form within 6 months of the problem arising. The facts of your case will be examined along with the scheme regulations, and any other legislation, which is relevant.
You should receive a written reply within 2 months of receiving your particulars. Confirmation of the decision will be presented, or alternatively reasons will be given for the delay in providing the outcome.
For complaints against your Employer, please complete the IDRP form and return to your employer. Your Employer must notify you of their Adjudicator in respect of the LGPS, their Job Title and Contact Address.
For complaints against the Pension Fund, please complete the form and return to:
The Pension Section
City and County of Swansea
Stage 2: Further Appeal
If you are unhappy with the Stage 1 decision, you have 6 months to appeal to a Stage 2 Adjudicator appointed by the Pension Fund. You must make your Stage 2 appeal in writing, which should be accompanied by the Stage 1 decision.
You can also go straight to Stage 2 if:
- You have gone through Stage 1 and haven’t had a reply within 3 months of making your appeal; or
- You have gone through Stage 1 and have not received a decision within a month of the date you were told you would receive it.
The Stage 2 Adjudicator should reply to you within 2 months of receiving your complaint.
For all Stage 2 appeals please complete the application form and return to:
Stage 2 IDRP Adjudicator
City and County of Swansea
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
Does this policy cover all complaints?
If your complaint is in relation to a Freedom of Information request or a Data Protection Breach there are separate policies in place. For further information relating to Freedom of Information contact details are:
Communications and Consultation
For further information relating to Data Protection within the Council, please refer to the following: https://www.swansea.gov.uk/dataprotection. Alternatively, you can visit the City and County of Swansea Pension Fund website to view our full Privacy Notice https://www.swanseapensionfund.org.uk/privacy-notice/
What if the complaint is in respect of more than one Section / Organisation?
If your complaint covers more than one Section / Organisation we will usually work with the other Section/Organisation to decide who should take a lead in dealing with your concerns. You will be given the name of the person responsible for communicating with you while we consider your complaint.
If the complaint is about a Section / Organisation working on your behalf, you may wish to raise the matter informally with them first. However, if you want to express your concern or complaint formally, we will look into the matter ourselves and respond to you.