Internal Dispute
Resolution Procedure
This guide is for the NHS, Teachers’, Fireghters’ and
Police pension schemes
For applications made from 1 May 2018
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This booklet describes the SPPAs formal procedures for settling disputes and explains
why it has set them up. The SPPA hope that most problems can be dealt with informally,
but recognise that sometimes this is not possible.
It is applicable for all new disputes on or after 1 May 2018. Any ongoing dispute received
before that date will be dealt with under the previous two stage process.
Early Resolution
The Pensions Act 1995 (‘the 1995 Act’) requires all occupational pension schemes,
including those that the SPPA administers, to have formal Internal Dispute Resolution
Procedures (IDRP).
This booklet sets out the procedures used by the NHS, Teachers’, Fireghters’ and Police
Pension Schemes in Scotland. These procedures comply with Section 50 of the 1995 Act
and Regulation 2 of the Occupational Pension Schemes (Internal Dispute Resolution
Procedures) (Consequential and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2008.
The procedures give scheme members, prospective scheme members, and the
dependants of a person who was a scheme member, the opportunity to have disputes
considered by someone who was not involved in the original decision.
The SPPA is fully committed to ensuring that you receive an efcient, fair and courteous
These arrangements do not apply if any court or tribunal proceedings have started or
if either the Pensions Ombudsman or the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman have
started an investigation.
Before appealing through the IDRP process, you may wish to consider discussing a
potential complaint with a member of the Pensions Ombudsman’s Early Resolution
Team. They can also support you through the process, and you can reach their helpline
Phone: 0800 917 4487 (selecting the relevant option)
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Who can use the Internal Dispute Resolution
Under the 1995 Act, IDRP is available to ‘people with an interest in the scheme’. This can
include all of the following people:
Members of the scheme: Current members, members who have received their
pension from the scheme, members who have preserved benets in the scheme,
and members with some service left in the scheme, but who have not taken a refund
of their contributions or transferred their service to another scheme.
Prospective members: People who are entitled to join or re-join the scheme, but have
not done so.
Widows, widowers, nominated partners, surviving civil partners, or dependants of
deceased members.
People who have ceased to be a member, beneciary or prospective member, or
People who claim to be in one of the above categories above and the dispute relates
to whether they are such a person.
Please, note, if you are no longer a member, beneciary or prospective member,
or if you claim to have formerly been such, we would expect your application to be
made within six months of the date you ceased to be or claimed to be a person with
an interest in the scheme.
The Internal Dispute Resolution Procedure
Some pension issues can be resolved informally. Therefore, before considering the formal
non-medical IDRP, you should write to the person who made the original decision.
Please give details of the issues concerned, including any facts that you think the
decision maker may not have taken into account. The decision maker will look at what
you have said and will do their best to provide further clarication. Hopefully this will
resolve your enquiry.
If this informal process does not resolve the issues, you can then move to the formal
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The IDRP arrangements allow people to challenge decisions on the basis that:
(a) Other information which was available at the time of the original application, but not
presented, has come to light; and/or
(b) If you are not satised with the way in which your case has been handled, or you
do not feel that sufcient consideration has been given when applying the pension
scheme’s regulations.
(c) If you believe the scheme regulations have not been applied correctly.
A formal IDRP is an
appeal to the Scottish Ministers that will be determined on their
behalf by the Head of Business Affairs at the SPPA. The determination requires a full
review of the original decision.
How to apply for a review and determination
Your application for a review must be in writing and must be signed (an electronic
signature is acceptable). You should use the form at the back of this booklet, or
alternatively download it from the website. You should apply to the Head of Business
Affairs as quickly as possible after you receive
the decision, but your application should be made within six months of receiving the
decision you wish to dispute.
What information does the Head of Business Affairs
You should explain your dispute as fully as you can, enclosing copies of any documents
you think may be helpful.
Please include your full name, address, date of birth, National Insurance number, your
superannuation number (if you have one) and the name of your employer.
If you are acting on behalf of someone else, you will need to supply the same
information and provide your name and an address for correspondence.
Important: Written evidence of your authority to act on behalf of someone else
must also be provided.
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Determination on behalf of the Scottish Ministers
A ‘determination’ provides a decision on behalf of the Scottish Ministers on whether
the action taken in the case complies with the regulations governing the scheme. The
SPPA’s Head of Business Affairs has delegated responsibility from Scottish Ministers to
make decisions in respect of the schemes administered by the SPPA.
This process is completely independent of each scheme’s own administration
procedures. None of the SPPA colleagues who were previously involved in the case will
contribute to the outcome of the appeal.
The Head of Business Affairs’ response
The 1995 Act requires that you must be given a determination within a reasonable
period of your application. Disputes can be complex and require further information or
enquiries. To reect that, the Head of Business Affairs aims to resolve all disputes within
four months of receiving them. This period is considered by the Pensions Regulator to
meet the ‘reasonable period’ set out in the 1995 Act. If it may not be possible to meet
that target, you will be sent a letter explaining why and given a revised decision date.
When the Head of Business Affairs reaches a decision, you will be sent a letter to
inform you of the outcome of your appeal. The letter will provide a full rationale for the
decision and will refer to the specic scheme regulations or rules that have been taken
into account in reaching the decision. The reply will also remind you that the Pensions
Ombudsman or the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman can help with problems
which have not been resolved under IDRP and will provide their contact details.
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Ill health retirement - Police and Fireghters only
Police and Fireghters’ members should contact their employing authority for medical
appeals. These appeals are considered by an independent Board of Medical Referees
and considered outside the IDRP process.
Ill health retirement - NHS and Teachers only
Any decision to accept or reject a NHS or Teachers’ application for ill health retirement
will take into consideration medical advice.
If your ill health application is refused, you can appeal the decision through IDRP. At this
review, the Head of Business Affairs will consult a different medical adviser who has not
previously been involved in the case to conrm that all the relevant points have been
considered. The SPPA will then write to you with the decision.
However, a decision to refuse ill health retirement is unlikely to be overturned unless
you are able to provide additional medical (or other) evidence in support of your original
application which could and should have been presented with the original application.
Without it, our medical advisers can only make a recommendation based on the
evidence supplied at the time of the initial decision.
The dispute process is designed to test that decisions have been made properly and
taken account of relevant and appropriate evidence.
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Subsequent action
If you are still dissatised after going through the formal process, you may wish to
consider taking your dispute to the Pensions Ombudsman (TPO). TPO may investigate
and determine any complaint or dispute of fact or law in relation to the pension scheme.
Please note it is not enough merely to disagree with a decision; you must have reason to
believe that the decision was not properly made or implemented.
10 South Colonnade, Canary Wharf, E14 4PU
Telephone: 0800 917 4487
You can also submit a complaint form online:
If your complaint is in relation to the administrative actions of SPPA, you also have the
right to ask the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) to consider your complaint.
The SPSO will not consider matters which relate to decisions or omissions relating to the
provisions of the pension regulations.
Telephone: 0800 377 7330
If you have general requests for information or guidance concerning your pension
arrangements, please contact:
The Pensions Advisory Service
11 Belgrave Road, London, SW1V 1RB
Telephone: 0300 123 1047
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The Pensions Ombudsman can be contacted at:
Contact Us
If you have any questions about the information contained in this document, please
contact the SPPA at:
Scottish Public Pensions Agency
7 Tweedside Park
Telephone: 01896 893000
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Internal Dispute Resolution Procedures -
For applications made after 1 May 2018
Application to the Head of Business Affairs
You can use this form to ask the Head of Business Affairs to review your case.
These procedures should not be used if:
Either the Pension Ombudsman or the Scottish Public Service Ombudsman started
investigations into the dispute referred to them; or
The disagreement has led to court or tribunal proceedings being started.
1. Name of pension scheme (tick where applicable)
2. Applicant’s details (this information must be supplied in all cases)
Home Telephone number
Mobile number
Surname(s) Address
Former surname(s) (if applicable)
Forename(s) (in full)
Date of birth (e.g. 15/04/1943)
/ /
National Insurance number
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Email address
Superannuation number (if applicable)
Name of Employer
3. Representative’s details
If you are appointing someone to represent you please include their details here (please
note that if someone is acting on your behalf we will only correspond directly with them).
Home Telephone number
Mobile number
Surname(s) Address
Former surname(s) (if applicable)
Forename(s) (in full)
Email address
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4. Your Status (please read this section and tick the correct box)
I would like the Head of Business Affairs to look into my dispute and give a determination
on behalf of the Scottish Ministers.
I am the:
scheme member
Prospective scheme member
Former scheme member
Dependant of a scheme
Declaration: I authorise the above-named representative to act on my behalf, and
for the SPPA to provide them with details of my benets/membership held within
the scheme relating to my dispute.
Signature: _________________________________________
Name (Please print)
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5. Your dispute
You have six months from the date of the decision you are disputing to make a formal
request to the Head of Business Affairs under IDRP.
Please give details of your dispute in the box below and explain why you disagree with
the original decision. If there are any documents from the SPPA, your employer or any
other sources which you think might support your IDRP appeal, detail below or attach
If you use a separate piece of paper please write your name, National Insurance number
and superannuation number on each sheet.
6. Please sign and date below:.
Signature: _________________________________________
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Please return this form to:
Head of Business Affairs
Scottish Public Pensions Agency
7 Tweedside Park
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