The Pensions Ombudsman (TPO) - Chair

Body: The Pensions Ombudsman
Appointing Department: Department for Work and Pensions
Sector: Regulation
Location: National (Board meetings to be held in London)
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: £20,000
Time Requirements: A minimum time commitment of 30 days annually


An announcement has been made on the outcome of this appointment.

Caroline Rookes appointed permanent Chair of The Pensions Ombudsman
The Department for Work and Pensions has announced the appointment of Caroline Rookes as the new permanent Chair of The Pensions Ombudsman (TPO).

Rookes will formally take up the post from 1 December 2020 and serve a five-year term. She has served as interim Chair since September 2019.
The Pensions Ombudsman, Anthony Arter, is charged with investigating complaints or disputes about pension schemes.

Minister for Pensions, Guy Opperman, said:

“Since her appointment as Interim Chair in 2019, Caroline has been key in driving The Pensions Ombudsman to become more efficient and customer-focused. I am pleased that the Secretary of State has appointed Caroline as the permanent Chair, and I look forward to further positive change going forward.”

TPO Chair, Caroline Rookes, said:

“I am delighted to have been appointed to the role of Chair of The Pensions Ombudsman. The work of Anthony Arter and his team in ensuring that pension complaints are dealt with efficiently, effectively and fairly, is of great importance to the millions of pension scheme members. I am pleased to be able to play a part.”

The Chair of The Pensions Ombudsman is appointed by the Secretary of State for the Department for Work and Pensions. The appointment was made following an open competition regulated by The Office for the Commissioner of Public Appointments.

Additional information

• Remuneration for the Chair’s role is £20,000 for a minimum of 30 days per annum.

Date: 26/11/2020

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Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications


  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement

    26/11/2020 at 10:00


Assessment Panel

  • Joanne Gibson Added 19/05/2020

    Panel Chair

    Deputy Director of Defined Benefit Pensions, Department for Work and Pensions

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  • Ann Harris Added 19/05/2020

    Ann Harris Non-Executive Director of the Money and Pensions Service (and previously Chair of The Pensions Advisory Service • Other Panel Member

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  • Sir Peter Spencer Added 19/05/2020

    Former OCPA appointed Public Appointments Assessor. • Independent Member

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Vacancy Description

The Pensions Ombudsman (TPO) investigates and determines complaints and disputes about the way that occupational and personal pension schemes are run. The Pension Protection Fund Ombudsman considers decisions made by the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) Board under the PPF’s internal procedures and decides on appeals against decisions by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Financial Assistance Scheme. Although the roles are provided for separately in legislation, they are held by one post holder. Throughout this document the term ‘PO’ will therefore cover both roles.

TPO provides an accessible service for dealing with pensions complaints. Determinations are final and binding on all parties, subject only to appeal in the High Court on a point of law. Services are provided free of charge.

In recent years the office has seen a steady increase in business which also includes the transfer of the Early Resolution Service from The Pensions Advisory Service to TPO in March 2018.

TPO is a statutory tribunal and Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB) sponsored by the DWP.

Following the recommendations from the 2019Tailored Review of The Pensions Ombudsman (TPO) governance structure DWP Ministers agreed to implement a full Board structure consisting of three Non-Executive Board members (including a Chair), and two Executive Directors (the Pensions Ombudsman, and a Chief Operating Officer – to be appointed in July 2020), in line with Cabinet Office principles for effective and proportionate governance. There is currently an interim Board structure including the interim Chair who has been tasked with setting up the new board. However, it is envisaged that the new Chair will be involved in the later stages of the recruitment and appointment of the Non-Executive Directors


The Role of the Chair

The Chair of TPO will be able to demonstrate excellent communication and strong and effective leadership qualities to shape and support the delivery of the strategic objectives required to support TPO in fulfilling its objectives. The successful candidate will have responsibility for:

  • Providing clear strategic leadership in the setup and implementation of the new Board structure, supporting the Executive Team with this transformation. You will ensure the Board is focused on the organisation’s current and future priorities and that views are communicated clearly across the organisation and DWP;
  • Setting TPO’s strategic direction ensuring alignment with DWP Ministerial priorities; ensuring that its plans are challenged constructively by the Board so that priorities and targets are clear and appropriate;
  • Providing strong leadership to ensure the organisation delivers on those plans in line with the statutory, administrative and governance / financial frameworks that apply to the organisation;
  • Ensuring there is a constructive working relationship with Ministers and officials in the sponsoring body, the Department for Work and Pensions;
  • Working with the Ombudsman to ensure TPO is effective and efficient and so provides excellent value for money in a culture of continuous improvement;
  • Supporting and motivating the Executive Team whilst also holding them to account for agreed delivery objectives and sound financial management;
  • Conducting performance reviews of the effectiveness of the individual Non-Executive board members and ensuring that regular reviews of overall Board effectiveness take place; and

Demonstrating commitment to the Seven Principles of Public life set out by the Committee on Standards in Public Life (see Annex 1 in the Candidate Pack)


Person Specification

Essential Criteria

  • You will possess strong and effective senior leadership qualities including the ability to shape and support the delivery of agreed goals, priorities and statutory obligations, and the ability to lead through others;
  • You will have excellent communication skills including the ability to influence people, and develop and maintain relationships across different groups;
  • You will have the ability to operate constructively and build positive relationships with Board level and senior stakeholders – in particular the ability to engage and build effective relationships quickly with stakeholders in the Pensions industry;
  • You will have an understanding of the economic and political environment within which the public sector operates;
  • You will be able to demonstrate an excellent knowledge of corporate governance and a clear understanding of the role of the executive versus that of non-executive; and
  • You will be able to demonstrate the ability to fulfil the role with professional integrity, exemplifying the highest standards of behaviour in public life.


How to Apply

In order for us to progress your application please submit the following completed documentation:

1. A CV (maximum 2-3 pages) with your education and professional qualifications and full employment history.

2. An accompanying Supporting Statement (maximum 2 pages, font 12) – this is your opportunity to demonstrate how you meet each of the criteria set out in this information pack. You should aim to provide specific examples that demonstrate how your knowledge and experience matches each of the criteria, and which describe what your role was in achieving a specific result.

Please ensure your full name and the post for which you are applying are clearly noted at the top of your CV and Supporting Statement.

3. Personal Information Form Most of the information requested is not seen by the panel assessing your application (though the panel may consider your declaration of interests).

4. Diversity Monitoring Form. Collecting and analysing candidate data will help us improve our diversity strategy. It will allow us to run more successful recruitment exercises in the future and ensure that competitions are fair for all. This form is not part of the selection process and will be treated in strictest confidence. It will be kept separate from your application and not be seen by the selection panel.

Please email your application to:

by 23:00 on 19th June 2020

If you have any difficulty in sending your application or need the application pack in an alternative format (e.g. Braille, large print, audio CD, tape or e-text), please contact the ALB Public Appointments Team by e-mail to

Diversity Form (TPO Chair)
Personal Information Form (TPO Chair)
TPO Chair Candidate Pack_FINAL
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