Pensions Service

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2002 Retired Members' Conference
27 June 2002

The Government launched the new Pensions Service on 1 April 2002. Prior to that date, pensioners received face to face support and had their information processed by specialist staff based in their local benefits office.

This Conference is concerned that under the new Pensions Service:

1)Pensioners will be forced to make claims or raise financially sensitive queries through faceless call centres and a website;

2)Pensions processing will be shifted to 26 regional centres and a seriously reduced local service will be provided by an average of just five staff in each local authority;

3)Only two of the staff in each local authority will be providing front line local services such as visiting housebound pensioners and running irregular drop-in forums.

This Conference believes that the new under-resourced Pensions Service will exclude pensioners who are unable or unwilling to deal with pensions advisors over the phone or through the Internet. In addition, it will not improve services to pensioners but actively discourage pensioners from contacting the Pensions Service, having a direct negative impact on benefit take up.

Therefore this Conference requests that the National Executive Council raise these concerns through appropriate channels with the Department for Work and Pensions and work with pensioners’ groups and the relevant staff organisations, for example Public and Commercial Services Union to achieve the following objectives:

a)Maintain caller facilities for pensioners in branded premises in every town and city;

b)Increase resources for the Pensions Service local service to at least double the existing five staff, on average, per local authority area;

c)Allow pensioners to request home visits to make claims and resolve queries in more than just exceptional circumstances;

d)Maintain processing work at a local level to allow pensioners to speak directly and face to face with the person dealing with their claim.