Select Committee on Social Security First Report


(a)We believe that it is to the Government's credit that it has responded to the representations of the SSAC and others by announcing an entirely new scheme rather than persevering with the compensation plan which would have led, in our view, to severe problems of implementation centred around the burden of proof that claimants had been misinformed (Paragraph 6).
(b)Having studied them carefully, we believe the proposals contained in the draft regulations which will be laid before the House are broadly acceptable and will give people a reasonable time to make appropriate alternative arrangements while protecting the interests of those who will be affected in the period from 6 October 2002 when the transitional arrangements start to be implemented (Paragraph 7).
(c)The Committee is very concerned that there should be a comprehensive publicity campaign announcing the changes and that clear information (in various languages where appropriate) should be widely disseminated via the media, the Department's local Offices and at Post Offices. Those people who have contacted the Department during the period of misinformation and whose addresses are available to the Department should be contacted directly. Furthermore we believe that the Department should take all necessary steps to ensure that the implementation of the scheme is undertaken efficiently and fairly. We shall expect the Government, in its reply to this report, to give firm assurances that the mistakes of the past will not be repeated and that the implementation of the Inherited SERPS scheme will be undertaken to the highest standards (Paragraph 8).
(d)We may wish to investigate the implementation of the revised scheme for Inherited SERPS and consider whether the reorganisation of the Department has delivered the improvements which were expected. Since the scheme will come into force from 2002 our successor Committee in a new Parliament may also wish to follow up our inquiry (Paragraph 9).

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