Women's SPA rises: DWP accused of maladministration

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There was maladministration in the way the Department for Work and Pensions communicated women's state pension age increases, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman has found in its report published on Tuesday.

It said the DWP failed several times to 'get it right' and went ahead with its information campaign in the way it did despite knowing that a more targeted approach was needed: "DWP knew those steps had not resulted in information reaching the people who needed it. It also knew that too often people do not understand how information about pensions relates to their own situations and that individually tailored information was needed – the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions had made that point in February 2004. It is not reasonable to do the same thing and expect a different result."

The maladministration led to a delay in DWP writing directly to women about changes in State Pension age, the ombudsman said.

It added that "affected women should have had at least 28 months’ more individual notice of the changes. For women who were not aware of the changes, the opportunity that additional notice would have given them to adjust their retirement plans was lost".

The next stage of the ombudsman's investigation will "consider the impact that injustice had", it added.