Complaints

We’re sorry when things go wrong, and we’ll deal with any complaints we receive quickly and resolve the situation when possible. We monitor the levels of complaints we receive on a monthly basis, and we’ll always learn from these and improve the service we provide.  We have set out the Customer care standards we aim to meet.

Our complaint processes covers:

  • the service we have delivered – if you are unhappy with the service we have provided 
  • how pension rules were applied – benefit calculations or payments, previous membership, transfer in/out and AVCs
  • complain about a decision made by your employer - contact your employer who’ll investigate your complaint in line with their internal disputes policy

Complaints about service we have delivered

Initial contact

We’ll make every attempt to resolve a complaint on the spot. If this isn’t possible, a senior member of staff will investigate the matter and respond to you within 10 working days. To make a complaint download a complaints form here.

Step 1 - If you’re still unhappy and the response hasn’t resolved the matter, let us know the reasons. A manager will investigate the matter and send a written response within 10 days of your request for review.

Step 2 - If you’re still unhappy you can request your complaint to be reviewed by the Head of Pensions and Investment Service. We will respond to you within 10 working days.

Step 3 - If you’re still not satisfied once you have been through our complaints process, you can make a formal complaint to: The Pensions Ombudsman, 11 Belgrave Road, London SW1V 1RB Tel: 0207 834 9144 or Scottish Public Services Ombudsman, 4 Melville Street, Edinburgh EH3 7NS Tel: 0870 011 5378

Complaints about how the pension rules were applied

Initial complaint - Internal Dispute Resolution Procedure (IDRP)

In the first instance you should write to the Pensions Administration Manager with full details of the decision you’d like reviewed. We’ll investigate the matter and send a written response within 10 days of your request or review. If the investigation will take longer, we’ll keep you informed of when you can expect a response.  To make a complaint download a complaints form here

Stage 1 - If a complaint can’t be resolved by the Pensions Administration Manager, you can appeal the decision to an independent appointed person within six months of the date of the notification or act of omission you are complaining about. This is stage one of the IDRP procedure. You’ll be given details on how to appeal in our reply to the first step.

Stage 2 - If you’re still dissatisfied following the independent appointed person review: you may apply to the Scottish Ministers to have the decision reconsidered within six months of the date of the notification of the first stage decision. The notification will include a contact address. This is stage two of the IDPR.

Final Appeal - If, after going through the dispute process, you’re still not satisfied you can make a formal complaint to The Pensions Ombudsman, 11 Belgrave Road, London, SW1V 1RB, Tel: 0207 834 9144.  Please note that TPAS (The Pensions Advisory Service) is available to assist members and beneficiaries of the Scheme in connection with any difficulty with the Scheme which remains unresolved. You can contact TPAS at 11 Belgrave Road, London, SW1V 1RB or call them on 0845 6012923.

Complaints – how we learn from them

We monitor the levels of complaints we receive on a monthly basis and we’ll always learn from these and improve the service we provide. Lean methodology is used to drive ongoing efficiencies in service delivery, together with Customer Journey Mapping, an approach within Customer Service Excellence (CSE) to tailor our services to meet the needs of both our customers and Lothian Pension Fund. We also undertake regular surveys of customer groups and use mystery shopping exercises to test whether we’re getting things right.

Examples of cases

You said - there are delays in receiving one off lump sum payments. 
We did - we made improvements including bringing one off payments in-house and checking processes to ensure payments were paid to correct bank accounts.

You said - you were unclear about statutory waiting period before refunds are processed. 
We did - we made improvements on our website to clarify we can't process refunds until one month after the last date of membership

You said -  you were unclear about if you could make AVC lump sum payments before retirement. 
We did - we made improvements on our website to clarify AVC rules for lump sum payments from payroll and asked Prudential to amend their AVC application form.