Internal dispute resolution procedure—what is involved?
Internal dispute resolution procedure—what is involved?

The following Pensions guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Internal dispute resolution procedure—what is involved?
  • Scope of IDRP
  • Exemptions from the IDRP requirements
  • Establishing an IDRP: one or two stages?
  • Informing members
  • Timescales
  • One-stage IDRP
  • Two-stage IDRP
  • Communicating the decision

THIS PRACTICE NOTE APPLIES TO DEFINED BENEFIT (DB) AND DEFINED CONTRIBUTION (DC) ARRANGEMENTS

Scope of IDRP

Pension scheme trustees have a duty to establish, run and manage a scheme’s internal dispute resolution procedure (IDRP). The IDRP enables scheme members, or those with an interest in the scheme, to challenge decisions, acts or omissions relating to their scheme benefits or the pension scheme.

Individuals considered to have an interest in the pension scheme include those who have ceased, or claim to have ceased, to be a member or beneficiary of the scheme, or a prospective scheme member. This includes widows, widowers and surviving dependants.

Complaints relating to the employer are outside the scope of the IDRP process.

Scheme members and those with an interest in the scheme can only make a complaint to the Pensions Ombudsman under the Pensions Ombudsman’s normal adjudication service after they have completed the scheme’s IDRP. However, as the Pensions Ombudsman now offers an early resolution service in addition to its normal adjudication service (as a result of the transfer of The Pensions Advisory Service’s dispute resolution service to the Ombudsman on 19 March 2018), the Ombudsman confirmed in September 2018 that complainants using its early resolution service are not expected to have first used their scheme’s IDRP if the parties are happy with that (although the legislative