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Work and Pensions Committee approves appointment of Dominic Harris as Pensions Ombudsman

19 July 2022

The Work and Pensions Committee has endorsed the appointment of Dominic Harris as Pensions Ombudsman.

In a short report following a hearing with the candidate on Wednesday, the Committee concludes that Mr Harris has the personal independence and professional competence for the role.

While scrutinising the appointment, the Committee asked Mr Harris a range of questions including about his experience as a pensions lawyer, how he would manage any potential conflicts of interest and the challenges he anticipates for the office of Pensions Ombudsman.

He was also asked about his assessment of the work of the organisation in recent years and areas he thought could be improved, such as tackling the backlog of cases and improving customer satisfaction.

Rt Hon Stephen Timms MP, Chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, said:

"Mr Harris impressed the Committee with his grasp of detail and understanding of the challenges facing the Pensions Ombudsman. It is vital that people can trust that any complaints and disputes about their pension schemes are handled in a fair and impartial way, and we are confident that Mr Harris has the right skills and independence to lead the organisation in this important task. We wish him every success in his new position and look forward to working with him."

The Pensions Ombudsman investigates and determines complaints and disputes about the way that occupational and personal pension schemes are run. The current Pensions Ombudsman Anthony Arter is due to stand down at the end of the month.

Pre-appointment hearings add to a committee’s scrutiny of the Government as they ensure parliamentary oversight of key public appointments, helping to ensure that the Government’s preferred candidates are suitable for the roles. The purpose of the hearing is to enable the Committee to investigate whether a candidate has the necessary competence, expertise and independence for the post, should they be appointed.

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