Exclusive: Parliamentary Ombudsman proposes to say maladministration by DWP over the rise in the women’s pension age

Sir Robert Behrens – provisional ruling

Provisional findings point to some compensation likely to be paid to women born in the 1950s and 1960s

A confidential letter seen by this website shows the Parliamentary Ombudsman, Sir Robert Behrens, has managed to both exonerate and damn the Department for Work and Pensions for its handling of the administration of the rise in the pension age for millions of women born in the 1950s and 1960s,

The letter contains the provisional findings of an investigation which has taken years to undertake by his office – also wrongly temporarily halted because of a court case brought by Back To 60 seeking full restitution of the hundreds of millions lost by pensioners on grounds of inequality not maladministration.

The ministry is exonerated for all the work it did between 1995 and 2004 – from the passing of the 1995,Pensions Act.

DWP exonerated for first nine years of the announced change

The relevant paragraph reads: ” Between 1995 and 2004, accurate information about changes to State Pensions Age was publicly available in leaflets, through DWP’s agencies and on its website. What the DWP did reflects expectations set out in the Civil Service Code, the DWP Policy Statement, the Pension Services Customer Services Charter and the Benefit Agency Customer Charter”.

But the provisional report go on to make findings of maladministration for the department’s handling of events from 2005 to 2007 when it belatedly found out through internal research that people still did not know about the change and needed targeted information.

The report reveals that at the time the ministry had a sufficient database to have issued targeted information to people who were affected by 2005. But the huge delay in sending out letters meant in the worse case scenario many women did not get an official letter until 14 years after the event. The letter quotes Paul Lewis, a financial campaigning journalist, saying on average women born in the 1950s did not get a letter until one year and four months before they turned 60.

DWP ” did not get it right “

It says: ” We think DWP’s decision making following the 2003/04 research failed to give due weight to relevant considerations, including what research showed about the need for ” appropriately targeted” information, what was known about the need for individually tailored information, or how likely it was doing the same thing would achieve different results. It failed to make a reasonable decision about next steps. In Augusts 2005 DWP did not ” get it right”. And its failure to use feedback to improve service delivery meant it did not seek continuous improvement. Our provisional view is that it was maladministration.”

” We think DWP then failed to act promptly on its 2006 proposal to write directly to affected women, or to give due weight to how much time had already been lost.. It did not get it right because it did not meet the requirements of the Civil Service Code and it did not take all relevant considerations into account. And it failed again to use feedback to improve service delivery and seek continuous improvement.. Our provisional view is that was also maladministration.”

” We think maladministration led to a delay in DWP writing directly to women about changes in the state pension age. In our view that letters would have been issued around 28 months earlier than they were if the maladministration had not happened.”

This led to women who were not aware of the changes being given less time to make changes to their retirement plans. ” The next stage of our investigation will consider the impact that injustice had.”

The report seems to exonerate Whitehall for the way it handled the pension changes in 2011 with letters going out 18 months after the further change. But because of a huge delay in sending out letters to the women affected by the changes in 1995 many did not know until just before they thought they were going to retire.

59 thoughts on “Exclusive: Parliamentary Ombudsman proposes to say maladministration by DWP over the rise in the women’s pension age

  1. So what does this mean to us
    On Mon, 7 Jun 2021 at 18:55, Westminster Confidential wrote:
    > davidhencke posted: ” Sir Robert Behrens – provisional ruling Provisional > findings point to some compensation likely to be paid to women born in the > 1950s and 1960s A confidential letter seen by this website shows the > Parliamentary Ombudsman, Sir Robert Behrens, has man” >

    Liked by 2 people

    • The problem Susan is that succesive governments of various flavours have
      found that rather than own up to and deal with a future land slip they would rather
      present to the population a nice neat set of figures on a balance sheet.
      Pensions aren’t the only area which are a soft touch for savings to be made.
      This malpractise has been visible to all for a long time, but nobody was ever
      going to tackle the problem head on. The deceit and lies behind this criminal
      act may or may not ever come to light.
      As to whether anyone will receive compensation we can only wait. Many people
      paid higher NI payments, and I think these have already been dismissed.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Does this mean I will now at 64 years old I get the pension I am entitled too, or will I still have to wait another 2 years when I will be 66. God willing I don’t die before then, as have a lot of the ladies my age and older.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Good but not good ! Admission that something went wrong is the good, more delays and not ‘discrimination’ the not good.
    But do appreciate you keeping tabs on this. Nearly 4 months to go ….after 6 years delay!
    Best wishes to CEDAW to recognise that women were treated differently from men!
    Full restitution !

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Well done David for pursuing this, what a white wash, let’s hope all the waspi and backto60 can get either there pensions backdated or some good compensation for all the wrong doing of the dwp, added on for worry and stress.
    Keeping my fingers x
    Keep the fight up David, Paul Lewis is another man who knew the woman were outdone by.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. As someone who once worked as an investigator for the Parliamentary Ombudsman, this sounds like the typical fudge when there has been pressure from the department. ‘We’ll put our hands up for the small one if you let us off for the big one.’

    Liked by 3 people

  6. ALL PARLIAMENTARY WORK AFTER 1995 ACT .. – Behrens is having a laugh.
    They did nothing .
    47009 leaflets for DSS offices – that’s one for every 85th woman affected by the 1995 Pension Act. It was just not good enough

    Liked by 2 people

    • Absolutely, my alcholoic Orthopedic surgeon employer in his private practice with delusions of grandure sacked me by audio tape in 1982. It took me two days to find another position and I worked until 60, still dont have state pension but in last 5 years cared for my Dad through his final months at home, even taking unpaid leave from the NHS, Lost my Mum, and finally lost my husband to a Cardiac Arrest in a hospital environment two weeks before his 60th birthday. It would appear I will get a fraction of his private pension and nothing from his state pension. If anyone can tell me differently I would appreciate it.

      Like

  7. Is there still some chance of compensation?
    We were unable to plan for our retirement as not aware of the further changes due to the delay of sending out the letters ?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Your first sentence makes it clear that this is based on confidential material. Women who have cases with the PHSO received copies of this revised provisional report last week. We were all reminded that it’s a legal requirement for Ombudsman investigations to be conducted in private, and that we should not share the document with anyone or comment on it publicly. It’s very disappointing that this confidentiality requirement has been broken. I’m not sure whose interests you think you are serving by leaking the contents in advance of any official announcement.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Its CONFIDENTIAL,!!! If the PO,stops its investigation,because of you,we will sue you for damages. You have caused untold damage to all these women,because you couldnt keep your mouth shut !!

    Like

  10. Of course, they want it confidential however did anyone agree to that beforehand and why is it because they want a fudge and hand out meagre compensation if you are lucky a few pounds up against Thousands of pounds. It disgusting
    if this was a private company they would not get away with it.

    Like

  11. Exonerated for 2011 yet Ros Altman admits she was shocked 2015 DWP website still said retirement for women 60 years of age.
    We should be paid damages.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. For me this recent news found by the Parliamentary Ombudsman is good news. Considering all the evidence brought to the hearing and subsequent appeal, which was ignored, this latest news at least proves that whilst the dwp could not be brought to task for the way it ruled the rise in the spa because it did actually advertise at that time, the real issue has been all along that although the dwp was aware that the majority of women didn’t know, they had every opportunity to ensure that we were informed yet they still didnt bother, so maladministration has always been the issue. From the comments on back to 60 twitter, whether its a fact I don’t know, that the Ombudsman can only pay up to £1000 per person, then do we have another separate case to the courts for maladministration. I appreciate every minute that is spent by those leading the charge, but I still don’t think the legal representatives were on the right track .

    Liked by 2 people

  13. About time too.

    On Mon, 7 Jun 2021 at 18:52, Westminster Confidential wrote:

    > davidhencke posted: ” Sir Robert Behrens – provisional ruling Provisional > findings point to some compensation likely to be paid to women born in the > 1950s and 1960s A confidential letter seen by this website shows the > Parliamentary Ombudsman, Sir Robert Behrens, has man” >

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I think we deserve more than £1000 compensation, with all the worry, stress and heartache. So what it’s was confidential we 3.8 million women were entitled to the truth not a cover up. Come on all the waspi and backto60 let’s keep fighting for what we all deserve and to get our monthly pension we are all entitled too

    Liked by 1 person

    • So sad for all those women now departed and the suffering they had – suicide in some cases, selling or moving homes, struggling with ill health and financially, to name a few dreadful ways to live. RIP to them all.

      Liked by 1 person

    • We didn’t discuss the DWP not giving us our pensions! They robbed me of £40,000! I worked all my life, not had a break in contributions. They took 4 years of my pension without them giving me a notice of that effect. They also took my late husbands, who died at the age of 54, I never received a penny of his pension. NO….bring their dirty washing out in the open for all to see. It is NOT confidential any more. I want what I worked for.

      Liked by 3 people

  15. Hope we get the same compensation as the Farmers. They are allowed to retire at 60. They were told.
    Not us about having retiring at 66 instead of 60 as we were told when started work at 15….The stress and worry to continue working in low and manual work or look for work that does exist for over 60s and while going sick through Arthritis or any illness due to body wearing out. just sick pay money or nothing at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. A book “What’s the point of the Ombudsman?” ISBN 9781999929145 provides many case histories of how complainants have been sent round in circles by various sections of the Establishment. Legislation seems to be designed to protect the State rather than the citizen. Herbert has it right and it would be great if one or two whistleblowers at PHSO contact you David.

    Liked by 2 people

    • ‘Herbert has it right and it would be great if one or two whistleblowers at PHSO contact you’

      David, I worked as an investigator for six years. Two things I noticed – the first was that there were investigators there who seemed to spend their time looking for reasons to reject a complaint. The second was that the relationship between senior management and government departments was in many cases far too cosy. Even where an investigator did find maladministration, a quiet word from the department with a senior manager could have the finding watered down or even reversed.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Your comment does not surprise me Herbert. It would be very useful to have more insight from you and I would be happy for David Henke to provide you with my personal e mail. I would not want you to discuss specific cases, but your insight into the PHSO culture would be useful for our group PHSOtheFacts. (see website PHSOthetruestory to verify our bona fides)

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Hi David

    Great report but hope that this doesn’t make PHSO stop. Apparently all complainants involved have been sworn to secrecy or the PHSO action will be abandoned.

    Seems odd you would want it to be pre-emptive after all your great support and reports with Backto60. .

    Best wishes

    Pauline

    Ps holiday looked wonderful!

    On Mon, 7 Jun 2021, 18:49 Westminster Confidential, wrote:

    > davidhencke posted: ” Sir Robert Behrens – provisional ruling Provisional > findings point to some compensation likely to be paid to women born in the > 1950s and 1960s A confidential letter seen by this website shows the > Parliamentary Ombudsman, Sir Robert Behrens, has man” >

    Like

  18. Dear David

    I am not happy to read this confidential information from the Parliamentary Ombudsman which we have been asked not to discuss. After spending 5 years completing the DWP complaint process I hope you have not blown it for us all. I’m afraid I have lost all respect for you.

    Lynn Nicholls

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Many women have spent years getting their complaints of maladministration heard by the PHSO. We’ve even supported BT60 in its quest through the courts for justice. It’s obvious that you are on BT60’s side but why have you leaked confidential information that could jeopardise the Waspi maladministration cases?

    I used to follow your articles and assumed you would back any attempt at getting justice. However I have now lost any respect for you that I had. I think you should be apologising to Waspi and offering an explanation for this behaviour as it comes across as petulant and back stabbing.

    Like

  20. Dear David Hencke,

    Admin Grey Swans always was Pension 60 Now from 2013. Now is seeking help in trying to start a new party, Over 50s party, with pension age 60 men and women for next victims (1960s born onwards) and £31,100 compensation, whether we get the Ombudsman few hundred quid or not.

    Please email if you can help in any way, even if just endorsement or moral support. Thanks.

    Like

  21. Ian Duncan Smith told them not to inform 1950s women and his sidekick George Osborne said on national TV it was the easiest money they ever made a major catastrophe for all of these women so many have died pensionless homeless and starving mental health in ruins and Osborne thinks it was easy it is despicable what 1950s women have suffered because of greed

    Liked by 2 people

  22. I did get a letter late 2012 when I was due to retire July 2014. This is nowhere near enough time to make life changing decisions with a wait of 6 years( not 18 months!!!) for a state pension when I had already paid in over 42 years full whack!!!
    Shame on previous governments for not paying in their agreed amount into the pension pot. It boils down to mostly men making decisions on women’s behalf not bothering to investigate the devastating consequences:(:(

    Like

  23. I NEVER received any letter, regarding the raising of the state pension age. I found out a few years ago, after requesting a pension forecast and I queried the pension age that they had given me, as it meant that I would be 66 before I received my hard earned state pension.
    I was informed that the pension date was correct and that yes I would be 66. This was the first time that I had heard of the rise to 66!!!!!!
    It was far too late for me to sort out any viable option regarding a private pension. Had I known about it from 1995, then I could have made a decision to go ahead with some other means of pension.
    All my working life, I believed that I would retire at 60. A rise of 6 years, for someone in their sixties, is totally unfair and immoral, as women have paid their dues for decades

    Like

  24. It’s a disgrace I was never informed that the age was increasing by 6 years ! Until I was coming up to 60 .4 years stolen from me me now having to try and beg for a living from universal credit , disgusting , especially when we are keeping all the illegal migrants arriving daily ,who have never paid in or ever will .

    Like

  25. I was expecting my pension when I got to 60 but because my birthday was November I had to wait 18 months till I was 61 and 6 months.. I was born 2nd november 1951. 18 months of pension is a lot to lose.

    Like

  26. Its good news in one way but keeping retirement age at 66 is still wrong as its a struggle to keep going the older you get, and even though the younger generation now know about this many would still struggle to save in order to retire earlier, the cost of housing, food and utility bills are so high these days its hard to save anything

    Like

  27. After reaching age 66 it makes me really angry to read this massive error which cost myself and all the females in same age bracket at least £45 to £50 thousand per head where is all our cash we paid into for almost 50 years of our lives. It,s a injustice to say the least.

    Like

  28. Looking at the compensation rates we’ll be lucky to get £950…not the £48000 + they stole…I don’t want a commiseration payment…I want my full money so I don’t lose my house.

    Like

  29. I found out through a colleague around d 2yrs prior to my retirement aged 60yrs. I then had a further 1+ yrs added on therefore went from being able to retire at 60 to 64 within a short space of time. I decided to retire at 63 and had to live on my work pension for 15 months.

    Like

  30. Pingback: The Rob Behrens handbook – How to deal with critics: part 2. – phsothetruestory

  31. Pingback: Parliamentary Ombudsman officially says maladministration over 50s women pensions – but it will still be a long wait for justice | Westminster Confidential

  32. Delays will be the way forward for the government. By the time they decide to make restitution for their mistakes most of us will be dead!
    I have worked since I was 15 years old. I am nearly 68 and still working. I cannot stop as I live on my own so will have to work till I drop. Yet I see people who have never worked a day in their life and don’t have to as my tax pays for them.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.