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21 November 2011 - Pensions Ombudsman welcomes the Shared Services Model for Public Service Pensions Administration

 

Press Release of the Pensions Ombudsman, 21st November 2011

Pensions Ombudsman welcomes the Shared Services Model for Public Service Pensions Administration

The Pensions Ombudsman welcomes the recent announcement by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Mr. Brendan Howlin T.D., in the Public Sector Reform Programme relating to the introduction of shared services across government departments for the provision of pensions with the intention of streamlining operations, removing duplication and improving service delivery.

In my role as Pensions Ombudsman, I have investigated many cases relating to pension issues right across the entire public sector. It has always surprised me how many different schemes and systems are operated by the pension units of so many public sector organisations, and how many differences of detail there are between apparently similar schemes. This reflects the complexity of the area, the specialised knowledge required and the expertise of the staff.  It can sometimes be the case that one individual may be the fountain of knowledge in an organisation and the loss of this can have significant implications for the entire organisation.

In my annual reports for a number of years past, I have advocated a shared services model for public service pensions administration, which would provide a career path for people in that area, prevent the dispersal of knowledge and expertise, and significantly improve the quality of administration and service generally. The implementation of the pension reforms suggested by Minister Howlin will move the operation of these specialised services from organisational level to sectoral level.  This will lead to increased efficiencies and a more streamlined approach to the provision of pension services right across the public service.

This change is particularly important given the proposed reduction of 23,500 in the numbers of public servants in the coming years.  The sharing of pensions administration functions should achieve significant long-term savings in the operation of government departments and public sector agencies.  As Pensions Ombudsman I welcome this change, not only for that reason but, just as important, because it will help to ensure that individual employees and pensioners receive a better quality service.

Note for Editors

The Pensions Ombudsman investigates in an independent and impartial manner, complaints of financial loss due to maladministration and disputes of fact or law, in relation to occupational pension schemes, Personal Retirement Savings Accounts (PRSAs) and trust Retirement Annuity Contracts (RACs).  He may award compensation for financial loss.  He is a statutory officer and exercises his functions independently of government and the pensions industry.  He reports to the Houses of the Oireachtas.  There is no cost to the individual complainant for this service.

Paul Kenny is the Pensions Ombudsman.  He was appointed Ombudsman in April 2003. 

For further information contact Mr. Paul Kenny, Pensions Ombudsman at (01) 647 1650, or see www.pensionsombudsman.ie

21st November 2011

ENDS