Extract from MESSAGE FROM THE PENSIONS OMBUDSMAN
Although my Office was established less than 10 years ago, this is actually my third Statement of Strategy and it gives me great pleasure to present it to the Minister for Social Protection, Éamon Ó Cuív T.D.
If simple justification for the establishment of the Office were required, it is readily available from the statistics showing the number of complaints received. In 2003, when the office was first established, 155 complaints were received. The number increased steadily, with 297, 389 and 439 new complaints received in the years 2004, 2005 and 2006. From 2007, however, when 515 new complaints were received, the increase was very significant. In 2008, 758 new complaints were received, 47% more than in the previous year. In 2009 the already heavy workload was increased by a further 71%, bringing the number of complaints received in that year to 1,766
Even with the enormous contribution by my staff and the support of the Minister/Department, it would not have been possible for the Office to deal with such a large increase in the number of complaints without continually analysing, upgrading and reformatting our investigative and administrative procedures With a focus clearly on the requirements of complainants, we have developed a new Case Management System which became operational during the early part of 2008. This has helped significantly in streamlining the administrative side of our work, although further developmental work on the system is required.
One of the important aspects of the role of the Pensions Ombudsman is to try and ensure that as few as possible of the mistakes which lead to complaints are repeated. Apart from making presentations to the media and various industry-based organisations, I try to enhance learning in the area of pension law and practice by producing an annual Digest of Cases, which is published alongside my Annual Report each year. This Digest outlines the nature of the more interesting and difficult cases dealt with each year and set out the decisions I have taken and the reasons for them
Paul Kenny, Pensions Ombudsman, May 2010