Ombudsman accuses DWP of ‘maladministration’ over women’s state pension increases

Tom Selby
20 July 2021

•    The Parliamentary and Health Ombudsman has published findings of its review into the communication of women’s state pension increases 
•    Investigation probed complaints that since 1995 the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) had failed to provide “accurate, adequate and timely information about changes to the state pension age for women”
•    The Ombudsman concluded that the DWP did not adequately respond to research in 2004 which recommended information should be “appropriately targeted”
•    Unclear whether this ruling will eventually result in affected women being compensated by the Government

Tom Selby, senior analyst at AJ Bell, comments: 

“The WASPI nest will undoubtedly be poked once again by this Ombudsman ruling. 

“Millions of women were affected by increases in their state pension age originally put forward in the 1995 Pensions Act. 

“It was reasonable for these women to expect the Government to provide as much information as possible to communicate changes which would have such a profound impact on their retirement plans. 

“While the Ombudsman found the information provided between 1995 and 2004 was accurate and of a reasonable standard, those affected have every right to be angry that evidence provided to the DWP in 2004 that improvements to communications could be made was not acted on swiftly. 

“What we still don’t know is what, if any, compensation will be provided to women as a result of this finding. The Ombudsman now plans to look at the impact this injustice had, which will undoubtedly lead to more pressure for a resolution.

“Given the parlous state of UK finances, calls in some quarters to compensate women affected in full – which could amount to six years of state pension payments - are likely to fall on deaf ears.”

Tom Selby
Head of Retirement Policy

Tom Selby is a multi-award-winning former financial journalist, specialising in pensions and retirement issues. He spent almost six years at a leading adviser trade magazine, initially as Pensions Reporter before becoming Head of News in 2014. Tom joined AJ Bell as Senior Analyst in April 2016. He has a degree in Economics from Newcastle University.

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