EQUITABLE LIFE MEMBERS
THE PARLIAMENTARY OMBUDSMAN
Last Updated: Friday, July 18, 2008 05:33 PM
The Parliamentary Ombudsman is in charge of looking into maladministration by government department. In our case this is the DTI/Treasury/FSA. We feel that we should receive financial recompense to the fund if maladministration is proved.
On 1 July 2003 the Parliamentary Ombudsman Ann Abrahams produced a limited report where she found that the regulators had done an adequate job. Click here for the press release. This was a very limited inquiry into a period between Jan 1999 and December 2000. She then extended this inquiry and brought out her very comprehensive final report, in July 2008 where she found maladministration by the regulators.
The Parliamentary Ombudsman investigates complaints that injustice has been caused by maladministration on the part of the government departments or other public bodies.
PLEASE write to your MP and tell them to support the PO's report and don't let it be ignored as so many reports have been in the past.
The Parliamentary Ombudsman can be found on www.ombudsman.org.uk. She must be contacted through an MP.
This is for interest, Sir Gordon Downey an Equitable annuitant wrote to the Times regarding the first Parliamentary Ombudsman report that came out in 2003.
Letter to the Times 2 July 2003
........I am appalled at the statement issued by the Parliamentary
Ombudsman this morning, washing her hands of any further involvement
in the Equitable scandal. This directly contradicts her previous
undertakings to MPs to consider conducting an inquiry into the
prudential supervision exercised by the DTI and the Treasury, prior to
1999, in the light of the Penrose report.
there a more telling contrast between the government's indifference to
pensioners over the Equitable crisis and their response to farmers
over foot and mouth?
Letter to the Times of 29 September 2001
Sir, I am astonished at the decision of the Parliamentary Ombudsman (report, Business, September 27) that he will not look into complaints about the regulators’ handling of Equitable Life until Lord Penrose has published his report.
The ombudsman cites “wasteful duplication of effort”. But surely this is not the point. Lord Penrose has been appointed by the Government and reports to Treasury ministers. Their department is one of the regulators involved and they are free to accept or reject any recommendations. Lord Penrose has no power to compel witnesses to attend or to produce information. The ombudsman is an officer of the House of Commons and reports to Parliament, which can “send for persons and papers”.
The remits are also quite different. Lord Penrose is charged with inquiring into the circumstances leading to the current situation, “taking account of relevant life-market background”, and identifying any lessons for the future. The ombudsman looks at allegations of maladministration leading to an injustice. I believe that the present situation is largely attributable to maladministration on the part of the regulators.
Of course there will be some overlap. But there is no reason why the Government’s wide-ranging inquiry should take precedence over (and necessarily compromise) Parliament’s own. Equitable policyholders are suffering an injustice now and their grievances should not be kicked, yet again, into the long grass.