The Government first announced plans for a shared ownership right to buy in October 2019. At the time the sector raised concerns about the impact the plans would have on housing associations ability to borrow. An election and a pandemic later the Government announced, during the CIH Housing Festival last week, the return of the right to shared ownership as part of its Affordable Homes Programme (AHP).
The Pensions Ombudsman has introduced fixed awards for distress and inconvenience (or “non-financial injustice”) caused by maladministration in the management of pension schemes.
The guidance is effective immediately and applies to complaints which are currently before the Ombudsman as well as new complaints. Non-financial injustice can cover the time and effort spent in having to pursue a complaint and the associated “distress”, such as concern, anxiety, anger, disappointment, embarrassment or loss of expectation and could range from “mild irritation” to anxiety which requires medical treatment.
Awards will fall into one of five categories, each with a corresponding fixed award:
- Nominal (no award)
- Significant (£500)
- Serious (£1000)
- Severe (£2000)
- Exceptional (more than £2000)
The Ombudsman’s guidance sets out examples of the sorts of factors it will consider in deciding the level of award, for example:
- how obvious the maladministration was;
- whether it could have easily been avoided;
- any excessive delays in handling the complaint; and
- the level of distress or inconvenience suffered.
The factsheet published by the Ombudsman sets out examples of how the factors might be applied practically. This document is a reproduction of this.
However, the Ombudsman emphasises that all submissions will be considered on a case-by-case basis. In any event, the awards are not designed to be punitive in nature and are intended as an acknowledgement of the inconvenience or distress they have suffered. Awards falling into the ‘exceptional’ category are therefore expected to be rare.
For more information
For advice on dealing with complaints about pensions maladministration or disputes, please contact Doug Mullen.
Two final pieces of the possession jigsaw have been published on 15 September 2020. Mr Justice Knowles’ working group on possession proceedings has issued its guidance on the “overall arrangements” for possession proceedings.
One change proposed by the Building Safety Bill is the introduction of a duty holder regime, which will see statutory responsibility for the safety of higher risk buildings placed on key individuals
Throughout this pandemic, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been publishing various “Statements on Coronavirus” (Statements) which provide guidance on consumer rights during this time.
A recent increase in COVID-19 cases in the UK means new measures are being put in place in an effort to reduce the risk of a second wave. Whilst the impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt, it is important to remain focused on the sector’s road to recovery.
Sometimes half an hour at a conference gives you the reality that has been staring you in the face all along. That was my experience watching “Change is on the Horizon”
Following our recent e-briefing on Possession Notices, Helen Tucker and Emilie Pownall from our housing litigation team discuss the impact of the changes on social landlords.
Not only has the possession stay been extended until 20 September, the notice periods to be given to tenants has been extended in certain circumstances with some important exceptions.
The Court has confirmed that a party cannot withhold its consent in order to re-write the original bargain.
Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, building safety continues to be a key concern for social housing providers and their residents.
To receive invitations to our events, as well as information and articles on legal issues and sector developments that are of interest to you, please sign up to Newsroom.