WASPI ‘strongly regrets’ the sharing of confidential Ombudsman information – full details

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WASPI issued a statement on the sharing of confidential information today as the Ombudsman addressed its provisional findings. The Ombudsman reiterated it cannot provide details on its findings until the investigation is completed.

The PHSO explained it was continuing its investigation on the DWPs communication of changes to the women’s state pension age for those born in the 1950s, a change WASPI has been fighting for some time now.

As PHSO detailed: “In October 2018, we issued a proposal to investigate a sample of complaints brought to us about the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Independent Case Examiner (ICE) regarding changes in Women’s State Pension age.

“When the judicial review was announced, we found that it would consider issues related to those we were proposing to investigate. We paused looking at these complaints while those issues were being considered by the court.

“Following the High Court ruling, we began our investigation into a sample of six complaints about DWP’s communication of changes to women’s state pension age.

“Our investigations have a number of stages. Before we consider finalising an investigation report, we issue provisional views.

“Once any comments or further evidence has been considered, we issue a final decision. At the present time, we are considering comments received on our provisional findings for stage one of our investigation.

“By law, we investigate in private. This means we can’t provide further information on our findings until our investigation is complete.”

The PHSO went on to break down that there are three stages to its investigation.

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The first stage involves looking at whether there was maladministration in DWP’s communication of changes to women’s state pension age.

Should it find maladministration, it will then move onto the second stage and consider whether it led to an injustice for the complainant.

Additionally, at the second stage it would also consider the complaints about DWP not adequately communicating the required number of years of national insurance contributions to receive a full state pension.

If it were to find an injustice that has not already been remedied then it would proceed to the third stage and make recommendations to “put things right.”

This update from the PHSO, which can be found on it’s website, also addressed what recommendations it can’t make, what recommendations it can make and the complaints it has already received thus far.

Additionally, it also answered the following frequently asked questions:

  • Who is affected by the changes to state pension age for women?
  • When will you make a decision about maladministration?
  • When will you have completed your investigation?
  • Why are you only investigating six sample complainants?
  • Are you not accepting new complaints because you can’t manage the number of complaints you’re getting?
  • Does this mean that if somebody hasn’t had a complaint accepted by you already, they won’t benefit from any recommendations you might make?
  • Does the recent Court of Appeal judgment affect your investigation?
  • Will you investigate complaints about auto-credits?
  • Will you investigate complaints about women not being paid an uplift to their State Pension?
  • Where can I find out more about the changes to state pension age for women and the judicial review?

Following this update, the WASPI campaign itself also issued a statement on the ongoing investigation.

WASPI detailed the following: “Some of you may have seen reports on social media concerning the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s provisional findings in his investigation into DWP maladministration of the communication of State Pension age changes for 50s women.

“The Ombudsman has made it clear that, by law, his provisional findings are confidential to the women who are having their complaints investigated and should not be shared publicly.

“WASPI does not condone the sharing of this confidential information and strongly regrets that it has happened.”

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