The Pensions Ombudsman (TPO) – Ombudsman

Body: The Pensions Ombudsman
Appointing Department: Department for Work and Pensions
Sectors: Charity & Public Sector, Regulation
Location: London (Due to Covid-19 restrictions meetings may be held remotely e.g. via telephone/video links)
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: £143,095 Per Annum
Time Requirements: Full Time

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications

    26/03/2021 at 17:00

  • Panel Sift

    W/C 22/03/2021 (TBC)

  • Final Interview Date

    10 and 11/05/2021 (TBC)

  • Announcement



Assessment Panel

  • Pete Searle Added 15/02/2021

    Panel Chair

    Director Private Pensions and ALB Partnerships

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  • Caroline Rookes Added 15/02/2021

    Chair of TPO • Representative of Organisation

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  • Mark Addison CB Added 15/02/2021

    Chair of the Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and previously a Public Appointments Assessor for the Commissioner for Public Appointments • Senior Independent Panel Member

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Vacancy Description

The Pensions Ombudsman 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 ‘Ombudsman’ will therefore cover both roles. The Ombudsman is supported by an organisation, known as The Pensions Ombudsman (TPO).

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.

Further details can be found on TPO’s website and specifically in its corporate plan and Annual Report and Accounts.

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

This is an exciting and challenging time to lead The Pensions Ombudsman. Not only has TPO undergone significant growth in recent years and taken on new responsibilities, the organisation has also undergone a major transformation including redesign of the customer journey to provide a more modern digital experience. Transformation continues as we continue to examine our policies and processes to help us to deal with the ever increasing number of complaints and enquiries that we receive. Alongside we have been strengthening our governance through the creation of a new Board.


The Role of the Ombudsman

The role offers a challenging mix of complex case work and the opportunity to lead an independent, customer focused organisation. The Ombudsman is responsible for oversight of the office and casework management as well as making determinations on individual cases. Key responsibilities of the post include:

• Investigating and determining pensions complaints.

• Investigating and determining disputes concerning the Pension Protection Fund and hearing appeals against decisions made by the Financial Assistance Scheme manager.

• Maintaining a high standard of decision making both in terms of personal decisions and in cases resolved by staff.

• Working with TPO Board to set the strategic direction for the organisation, taking responsibility for managing staff and the organisation’s performance, ensuring it delivers its objectives in a cost effective, efficient way.

• Building constructive and effective relationships with external and internal stakeholders including DWP and its Ministers.

• As Accounting Officer, ensuring that TPO operates effectively and to a high standard of probity, and being responsible for the efficient, economical and effective use of its resources.


Person Specification

Essential Criteria

• You will possess strong and effective senior leadership qualities including the ability to shape the strategic direction of an organisation, support the delivery of agreed goals, priorities and statutory obligations, managing staff and organisational performance, 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 be a legally qualified solicitor or barrister with a proven ability in weighing evidence, setting out reasoned decisions and understanding principles of legislation; and

• You will have the ability to make decisions requiring the analysis of complex issues with possibly significant legal and financial consequences.

Desirable Criteria

• Up to date knowledge of pensions law and practice.

• Knowledge of the environment in which the public sector operates.

• Understanding of the role of an ombudsman or experience of resolving complaints from consumers/members of the public.

• Experience of dispute resolution.

• Understanding of and commitment to promoting high standards of customer service to members of the public.


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