The Pensions Ombudsman’s Service published guidance in June on redress for applicants for “non-financial injustice” caused by maladministration. This is “inconvenience” for the applicant in having to pursue their complaint and for any “distress” the applicant may experience. This could range from mild irritation to exceptional anxiety requiring medical treatment. The non-financial injustice must be caused by the maladministration.
The guidance makes it clear that the appropriate remedy could range from a recommendation that the respondent offers a formal apology to a monetary award for compensation. Where the non-financial injustice is not significant, no award shall be made.
For significant injustice, the size of the award will range from £500 to £1,000. Higher awards over £1,000 can be made where there was ill-heath or where lifestyle choice has been affected. There is a move towards these higher awards despite past caution given from the courts suggesting that higher awards are only suitable in exceptional circumstances.
The Pensions Ombudsman will take an objective view of the facts and decide whether a reasonable person with the same characteristics as the applicant would have reacted in the same way. Any compensation paid to the applicant will be taken into account when deciding on any financial award for compensation.