WPC calls for revised GMP factsheet

The Work and Pensions Committee (WPC) has called on the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to produce a revised guaranteed minimum pension (GMP) factsheet.

In a letter to Pensions Minister, Guy Opperman, WPC chair, Stephen Timms, called on the DWP to update the factsheet to include a figure to illustrate the potential loss to individuals over retirement and to show the impact of inflation and that it is not just people reaching state pension age in 2016/17 who may be affected.

The GMP factsheet on indexation changes was initially published last year, after the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) recommended that the DWP provide clearer information on the transition.

The DWP also underwent a review of the GMP factsheet in August 2021, concluding that there was no evidence at that time that a further iteration of the factsheet was required and that there was no trigger for further research.

However, Timms argued that “a steady stream of feedback from members of the public" had suggested that a revised factsheet is needed to better explain the potential impact on individuals over retirement, as well as eligibility and how individuals can apply.

Timms confirmed that the committee has been contacted by members of the public in relation to concerns that the current factsheet is insufficiently clear about the potential impact and that people may be eligible for compensation.

"The reason may be that in user-testing, the department ensured participants did not have a high level of pre-existing knowledge," Timms suggested.

"However, this is a complex area and those with knowledge may have been able to comment, not just on readability, but also on the kind of information people affected would need."

In addition to this, Timms stated that there has been feedback from the public suggesting that more explicit information is needed on eligibility.

In light of these concerns, he requested an explanation of the circumstances in which an individual in the target group for the factsheet may be eligible for compensation and what steps should they take to get it, suggesting this could be included in the revised document.

Reflecting on the DWP's previous review, Timms also noted that the factsheet has had limited success in reaching its target group, with 6,922 unique page views as of 2 March 2022, despite the DWP estimating that around 50,000 people were worse-off in 2017/18 alone.

Timms suggested that there could be a few reasons for this, including the delay in producing the factsheet and reliance on people finding the information for themselves on gov.uk.

In light of this, he requested an explanation as to what the DWP is doing to improve its ability to identify individuals affected by state pension changes and to provide them with full, clear and relevant information.

“The committee is concerned that placing information on gov.uk and hoping people find it is a wholly inadequate strategy for getting important information to people who need it, in this instance, to understand the potential impact on them of state pension reforms," he said.

"We would also be grateful of an explanation of the steps DWP now intends to take to promote a revised version of this factsheet to both individuals and occupational pension schemes.”

He also noted that whilst the DWP had been expected to include a thematical feedback review on the feedback received through gov.uk and a review of the contacts triggered by the feedback to establish if they were people from the target group, this was not absent from the review provided to the WPC.

Commenting in response to the concerns, a DWP spokesperson said: “We encourage anyone who is concerned to read the online factsheet and contact us if they think they have been affected.

“The publication of the factsheet is the final step in the department meeting the ombudsman’s recommendations on this issue.

“We will review the letter from the Work and Pensions Select Committee and respond formally in due course.”

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