Prospect says new computer system is to blame for delays

Hundreds of retired public servants – and their dependants – may be without money to celebrate Christmas because their pensions payments have been delayed by months, Prospect has warned.

The union has been approached by dozens of former civil servants or their dependants seeking urgent help and is afraid that many more could be affected.

Prospect national secretary Alan Leighton said: “I never imagined I’d see the day when loyal public servants who have devoted their working lives to the UK would be treated so callously.

“One widow came to me whose husband, a former civil servant, died in October. Yet she still hasn’t had a penny of the pension she is entitled to.

“We are told the problems are because of a new computer system. But underlying that is the back-door privatisation of the organisation that calculates, administers and now pays the pensions. Once more the government is trying to do things on the cheap in the name of efficiency, and vulnerable, elderly people are suffering.”

The affected pensioners are former civil servants (or their dependants) and members of the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme.

The scheme is run by a so-called ‘mutual’, MyCSP, which administers the pensions of 1.5 million civil servants.

The coalition launched My CSP – its first flagship “mutual joint venture” – in May 2012 as a commercial business. The mutual is now 51% owned by private company Equiniti, 25% by an employee trust called Employee Partners and 25% by central government.

Before MyCSP took over the running of civil service pensions they were handled in-house, with payments outsourced to Capita.

Then in September 2014, on top of its administration duties, MyCSP took over responsibility for payments from Capita. This coincided with the late delivery of a new IT system, provided by an Equiniti subsidiary, and preparation for the new alpha civil service pension scheme, which begins next year.

MyCSP said: “We are dealing with a significant increase in queries at present – 65% more than compared to normal business – and waiting times have been affected.”

 


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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