Our customer care standards

Our standards

What you can expect when you contact us

We’re dedicated to looking after the pension rights of our scheme members and we’ve set out standards for the services we provide. We’ll deal with any complaints we receive quickly and resolve the situation when possible. We aim to provide the best possible service and when you contact us our staff will:

  •  deal with you promptly, efficiently and fairly and in an easy to understand way
  •  let you know what our service standards are
  •  get back to you as quickly as possible with information if we can’t answer your query on the spot
  •  treat you with respect
  •  treat you as an individual.

Current members

We’ll:

  •  send you a newsletter (by hard copy or email) to the address provided by your employer to let you know when your annual pension forecast is available online. We’ll include information on your state pension, where it’s available, unless you have decided to opt out of this service
  •  send you a retirement quote within 10 days of your request
  •  send you information on increasing your retirement benefits within 10 working days of your request.

If you die while paying into the scheme

We’ll:

  •  pay a lump sum death grant within five working days of getting the necessary documentation
  •  let anyone who’s to receive a dependents’ pensions know the amount due within five working days and explain what documents we need. The pension will be paid on the next pay date (currently the 15th of the month in arrears) after all of the documentation has been received.

When you leave the scheme

  •  There’s a one month qualifying period before we can process any refunds. After this period, we’ll pay refunds within 10 working days of receipt of your completed declaration and bank details
  •  When you want to transfer your pension to another provider, we’ll issue you a transfer out quote within 30 days of your request, as long as we have confirmation of your GMP. The quote will be guaranteed for three months
  •  We’ll pay a transfer value within 30 working days of your confirmation that you want the transfer to go ahead, where we have all the information required.

If you choose to leave your benefits with us until you retire

  •  We’ll provide you with an annual newsletter (by email or hard copy) letting you know when your annual pension forecast is available online. This will show the current value of preserved benefits (as increased in line with inflation). You can request to be set your forecast if you prefer.
  •  Where we don’t hold a valid address, we’ll make every effort to contact you to provide you with an annual newsletter, but it’s your responsibility to tell us if you change address.

When you retire

We’ll:

  •  tell you how much money you’ll get, when and how, within seven working days of receiving all of the information we need from you or your employer
  •  tell you how changes in your circumstances could affect your entitlement
  •  return original birth/marriage/civil partners certificates by recorded delivery.

New members

When you join the scheme we’ll:
 Send you confirmation of your membership in the scheme within 20 working days of receiving the information from your employer
 Ask you if you want to receive details of your state pension.

If you transfer pension in

 If you choose to defer your decision on transferring pension in, we’ll send you one reminder before the deadline for a decision
 If you request to bring previous pension rights held in a public sector scheme into the scheme, we’ll request a transfer value from your previous scheme within 20 working days
 We’ll tell you what scheme membership your previous pension would buy within 15 working days of us receiving the information
 Once the transfer has been completed, we’ll confirm this in writing within 30 working days.

Once you have retired

We’ll:

  •  send you a newsletter and annual report summary at least once a year
  •  calculate any dependents’ benefits or other payments within five working days when we are notified of the death of a pensioner
  •  send a pension payslip for your first pension payment. After that, we’ll send you a pension payslip twice a year in April and May. We’ll send an additional payslip if there is a change to your pension over the value of £10.

When you contact us

by telephone

We’ll:

  •  answer the phone within fifteen seconds.
  •  give you our name when we answer your call.
  •  return messages within one working day.
  •  deal with your enquiry or complaint on the spot if we can, or return your call within one day
  •  tell you what we can do and when, or tell you why we can’t help (if we can’t help you immediately, we’ll try and tell you who can) and give you a timescale to get back to you.

by letters and emails

We’ll:

  •  Answer your letters and emails within 10 working days of receiving them, or keep you updated if an answer will take longer
  •  Make our letters clear and easy to understand.

in person

We’ll:

  •  see you within ten minutes if you arrive at our offices 
  •  offer you a private room if one is available
  •  have user friendly public offices with clean and tidy reception areas
  •  wear identification badges and tell you our name when dealing with you
  •  help you to fill in forms if you need help
  •  arrange an appointment somewhere close to where you live, for example at a community centre or local library or visit you in your own home, if you need us to
  •  arrange for you to see someone of the same sex as you, if you need us to.
  • we’ll always be helpful to anyone who contacts us on your behalf but may need your authorisation to give information to someone who’s helping you.

When you retire

 We’ll

  •  tell you how much money you’ll get, when and how, within seven working days of receiving all of the information we need from you or your employer
  •  tell you how changes in your circumstances could affect your entitlement
  •  return original birth/marriage/civil partners certificate by recorded delivery.

New members

When you join the scheme we’ll:

  •  send you confirmation of your membership in the scheme within 20 working days of receiving the information from your employer
  •  ask you if you want to receive details of your state pension.
  •  if you transfer pension in
  •  if you choose to defer your decision on transferring pension in, we’ll send you one reminder before the deadline for a decision
  •  if you request to bring previous pension rights held in a public sector scheme into the scheme, we’ll request a transfer value from your previous scheme within 20 working days
  •  we’ll tell you what scheme membership your previous pension would buy within 15 working days of us receiving the information
  •  once the transfer has been completed, we’ll confirm this in writing within 30 working days.