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Role details

The Pensions Ombudsman (TPO) - Chair

Application deadline 14 June 2024


Pensions Ombudsman
Sponsor department
Department for Work and Pensions
Public Administration
Business, Communication, Regulation, Transformation
Number of vacancies
Time commitment
36 day(s) per annum
£24000 per annum
Length of term
Fixed term of between three and five years
Application deadline
5pm on 14 June 2024

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Timeline for this appointment

  1. Opening date

    17 May 2024

  2. Application deadline

    5pm on 14 June 2024

Timeline dates are only an estimate and can change

About the role


The Pensions Ombudsman (TPO) is a tribunal Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB) sponsored by the DWP.
The Pensions Ombudsman is an independent statutory Commissioner appointed by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. The Ombudsman can investigate complaints of maladministration by the trustees or managers of a pension scheme, or by an employer on a pensions matter. TPO supports the Ombudsman, and the Deputy Pensions Ombudsman, by providing an accessible, free, and impartial service for people with complaints about their pension scheme to help them resolve their dispute without having to go to court. The decisions of the Ombudsmen are legally binding but in the first instance the organisation will try to resolve issues and disputes informally. 
The TPO Board was established following a review in 2019 which recommended that a full board structure with a majority of NEDs be put in place to improve the governance of the growing organisation. 
Paul Maynard MP, Minister for Pensions
Thank you for your interest in the pivotal role of Chair of The Pensions Ombudsman (TPO). TPO is at a crucial juncture and the new Chair will perform a critically important and challenging role.
In recent years, the impact of automatic enrolment has significantly increased the numbers of those saving into a workplace pension, resulting in a higher volume of cases managed by TPO and consequently an increase in waiting times. At the same time TPO is tackling an important service modernisation and transformation agenda, to put the customer at the centre  of its new operating model . 
I am looking for a Chair who can effectively navigate these complexities and steer TPO towards achieving its full vision of being a trusted, fair, and impartial service. The Chair will balance this with  delivering a streamlined  customer experience and ensuring  everyone has a smooth pathway to remedy  pension complaints.
As TPO tackles this agenda the Chair will need to collaborate with other public bodies, Parliament, and a wide range of stakeholders across the UK to implement the priorities outlined in the Corporate Strategy. 
I am seeking a Chair with a commitment to first class public services, to building personal trust across the pensions sector, and a leader that is seeking to make a significant early impact and difference. It is equally important for the Chair to be passionate about the Government’s aim to fostering financial resilience in later life whilst ensuring the integrity of the Ombudsman, as a vital part of the pensions system.
I am committed to promoting greater diversity in all DWP’s public appointments. If you have the experience and skills that TPO are seeking, I strongly encourage you to apply. This is a demanding but profoundly rewarding opportunity, and I look forward to seeing how your leadership will help shape the future of TPO.
Should you have any questions about the appointment process, please do not hesitate to contact the DWP Public Appointments Team at

Additional introductions

Peter Schofield, DWP Permanent Secretary
I want DWP and our arm’s-length bodies to be places where everyone, whatever their background, feels encouraged to achieve their potential. I believe attracting talented individuals from diverse backgrounds, including regional diversity and the full range of socio- economic groups, will allow us to be better able to provide the best possible support to those we serve.  
DWP continues to support Cabinet Office in working towards 50% of all public appointees to be female and 14% of all public appointments to come from ethnic minority backgrounds. We value diversity and inclusion and actively encourage and welcome applications from everyone.  
If you are looking for an opportunity to use your talents to make a difference to the lives of millions of your fellow citizens, we look forward to hearing from you.

Role description

The Chair of TPO will play a pivotal role in steering our organisation towards a bright and impactful future. We seek an individual who embodies leadership, strategic foresight, and a genuine commitment to TPO’s values and mission. Key responsibilities and attributes include:
•Leadership Excellence: Guide and support the Ombudsman and the Executive Team while holding them accountable for the delivery of TPO’s strategic objectives and financial integrity;
•Strategic Oversight: Working with the Ombudsman to set TPO’s strategic direction ensuring alignment with DWP ministerial priorities while promoting the efficient and effective use of staff and other resources;  
•Cultural Ambassador: Champion TPO’s  values, fostering a culture of fairness, collaboration, openness, trust, respect, and continuous learning within the organisation;
•Agenda Setting: Shape board meetings to focus on strategic objectives and incorporate critical, emerging topics;
•Board Integration: Oversee the induction of new board members, ensuring they are well-integrated and understand their roles and responsibilities within TPO’s governance framework; 
•Innovative Mindset: Leverage your experience to encourage fresh thinking and problem-solving, demonstrating independence of thought and a curious, innovative mindset to drive forward TPO’s transformation agenda;
Governance Expertise: Ensure TPO’s affairs are conducted with probity. Conduct performance evaluations and ensure the effectiveness of the board and its members is reviewed including annual assessment of the performance of the board and individual board members, and an external effectiveness review every three years;
•Strategic Communication: Exhibit outstanding communication skills, articulating TPO’s vision and strategic plans with clarity and enthusiasm;
•Diversity and Inclusion: Lead with a commitment to diversity and inclusion, creating a space where every voice is valued and contributes to TPO’s collective success;
•Passion for Transformation: Bring a passion for driving transformation, whether through technology, public sector innovation, or other avenues, to propel TPO organization forward;
•Commitment to Impact: Show a sincere dedication to making a meaningful impact on TPO organisation and the people it serves; and
•Demonstrating commitment to the Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies and the Seven Principles of Public life set out by the Committee on Standards in Public Life.
•Value for money and ensuring organisational effectiveness : delivering cost effective solutions and ensuring financial responsibility to maximise organisational efficiency and stakeholder value.
This role is not just a position but a chance to make a significant, positive difference in TPO and the wider community to ensure fairness and accessibility to TPO services. If you are ready to lead with vision, integrity, and a commitment to excellence, we welcome your application.

Regulation of appointment

This post is regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments. For more information, please refer to the Commissioner’s website 

Person specification

Essential criteria

•You will possess strong and effective senior leadership qualities including the ability to shape and support the delivery of agreed goals, priorities and statutory obligations, and the ability to lead through others; 
•You will have the ability to operate constructively and build positive relationships with board level and senior stakeholders - in particular, the ability to engage and build effective relationships quickly with stakeholders in the Pensions industry; 
•You will have some excellent chairing experiences of board committees and communication skills including the ability to influence people; 
•You will have experience and a strong passion for driving organisational transformation, particularly through technology or innovations;
•You will be able to demonstrate an excellent knowledge of corporate governance and a clear understanding of the role of the executive versus that of non-executive; and
•You will be able to demonstrate the ability to fulfil the role with professional integrity, exemplifying the highest standards of behaviour in public life. 

Desirable criteria

•Understanding of the Ombudsman or dispute resolution sector; and 
•You will have an understanding of the economic and political environment within which the public sector operates.

Application and selection process

How to apply

In order to apply you will need to create an account or sign in.

Once you are logged into your account, click on 'apply for this role' and follow the on-screen instructions. To apply, all candidates are required to provide:

  1. A  Curriculum Vitae (Maximum 2 Pages in MS Word format not PDF) which provides your contact details, details of your education and qualifications, employment history, directorships, membership of professional bodies and details of any relevant publications or awards;
  2. A supporting statement Maximum 2 Pages in MS Word format not PDF) setting out how you meet the criteria for appointment, as set out in the person specification for the role;
  3. Information relating to any outside interests or reputational issues;
  4. Diversity monitoring information. This allows us to see if there are any unfair barriers to becoming a public appointee and whether there are any changes that we could make to encourage a more diverse field to apply. You can select “prefer not to say” to any question you do not wish to answer. The information you provide will not be used as part of the selection process and will not be seen by the interview panel;
  5. Disability Confident – please state if you want to be considered for the disability confident scheme you can find more information about the scheme further down in the Disability Confident section of the vacancy;
  6. Reasonable adjustments - requests for reasonable adjustments that you would like to the application process (if applicable);

Due Diligence Checks

Please note that due diligence checks will be carried out on all candidates shortlisted for interview. The result of the checks will be shared with the panel and with Ministers who make the final decision following the results of the interview. The search will include: 

• Google search – publicly available information 

• Social Media search – ‘X’, Facebook 

• Individual insolvency search 

• Removed trustee register search 

• Financial Services Prohibited Individuals Register 

• Disqualified Director Register 

• Personal Information declarations 

• References 

ID verification 

For candidates that reach interview stage, when attending the interview, you will be asked to provide ID. This can be either a valid passport or photo card driving licence.

We will ask you to check and confirm your personal details to ensure your application is accurate.

The Advisory Assessment Panel reserves the right to only consider applications that contain all of the elements listed above, and that arrive before the published deadline for applications.

The closing date for applications is at 17:00 on 14th June 2024. Late applications will not be accepted.

Overview of the application process

Public appointments are made on merit following a fair and open competition process which is conducted in accordance with the Governance Code for Public Appointments. We will deal with your application as quickly as possible and will keep you informed at key stages. We aim to conclude the appointment process within three months of the deadline for applications – this is in accordance with the Governance Code.

The assessment process

  1. Ministers are responsible and accountable to Parliament for the public appointments made within their department. As a result, they must be consulted at every stage of the appointments process.

  2. An Advisory Assessment Panel (“Panel”) is appointed by Ministers to assist them in their decision making. The role of the Panel is to decide, objectively, which candidates meet the eligibility criteria for the role.

  3. At the shortlisting meeting the Panel will assess applications against the eligibility criteria and decide which candidates have best met the criteria, who should be recommended for interview. Ministers will then be consulted on the Panel’s recommended shortlist. If you have applied under the Disability Confident Scheme and you meet all the essential criteria, then you will also be invited for an interview.

  4. Once the shortlist has been agreed by Ministers, you will be advised (by e-mail) whether you have been shortlisted. Those shortlisted will be invited to an interview.

  5. The Panel will meet again to interview candidates and determine who is appointable to the role. The Panel may invite you to make a brief presentation at the start of the interview and will go on to question you about your skills and experience, including asking specific questions to assess whether you meet the criteria set out for the post. The Panel will also explore with you any potential conflicts of interest or any other issues arising from your personal and professional history which may impact on an appointment decision.

  6. Details of the panel’s assessment of interviewed candidates are provided to Ministers, including whether they have judged a candidate to be appointable to the role. It is then for Ministers to determine merit and decide who should be appointed. In some circumstances, Ministers may choose not to appoint any candidates and re-run the competition.

  7. Ministers may choose to meet with candidates before deciding the outcome. Candidates should therefore be prepared for a short time gap between interview and a final appointment decision being made. Candidates who have been interviewed will be kept informed of progress.

  8. Once the decision on the appointment has been made, interviewed candidates will be advised of the outcome of their application, including whom they may approach for feedback. Successful candidates will be issued with their Terms & Conditions and a letter of appointment should they agree to take up the position.

Further information about appointments, including tips on applying, can be found on our guidance pages on

Advisory Assessment Panel (AAP)

The panel will consist of three members: 
Panel Chair – Jenan Hasan, Deputy Director Private Pensions and Arm’s Length Bodies, DWP
Panel Member – Baroness Zahida Manzoor; and  
Independent Panel Member – Abi Olapade 
The panel will ensure that appointments are made in accordance with the Governance Code. The DWP Public Appointments Team will keep you updated on the progress of the competition.
Advisory Assessment Panels (AAP) are chosen by ministers to assist them in their decision-making. These include a departmental official and an independent member. For competitions recruiting non-executive members of a board (apart from the Chair), the panel will usually include a representative from the public body concerned.
AAP’s perform a number of functions, including agreeing an assessment strategy with ministers, undertaking sifting, carrying out interviews in line with the advertised criteria and deciding objectively who meets the published selection criteria for the role before recommending to ministers which candidates they find appointable. It is then for the minister to decide who to appoint to the role.

Eligibility criteria

In general, you should have the right to work in the UK to be eligible to apply for a public appointment.

There are a small number of specialist roles that are not open to non-British citizens. Any nationality requirements will be specified in the vacancy details.

The Government expects all holders of public office to work to the highest personal and professional standards. 

You cannot be considered for a public appointment if:

  • you are disqualified from acting as a company director  (under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986);

  • have an unspent conviction on your criminal record;

  • your estate has been sequestrated in Scotland or you enter into a debt arrangement programme under Part 1 of the Debt Arrangement and Attachment (Scotland) Act 2002 (asp 17) as the debtor or have, under Scots law, granted a trust deed for creditors.

When you apply, you should declare if:

  • you are, or have been, bankrupt or you have made an arrangement with a creditor at any point, including the dates of this. 

  • you are subject to a current police investigation.

You must inform the sponsor department if, during the application process, your circumstances change in respect of any of the above points. 

When you apply you should also declare any relevant interests, highlighting any that you think may call into question your ability to properly discharge the responsibilities of the role you are applying for. You should also declare any other matters which may mean you may not be able to meet the requirements of the Code of Conduct of Board Members (see Outside interests and reputational issues section below)
If you need further advice, please contact

Security clearance

The successful candidate will be required to undertake Baseline Personnel Security Standard checks in line with the Civil Service guidelines. Additional Security Clearance may also be required for certain roles. However, where this applies, candidates will be notified during the appointment process. Further information on National Security Vetting can be found on the website here.

Additional information for candidates

Equality and diversity

We encourage applications from talented individuals from all backgrounds and across the whole of the United Kingdom. Boards of public bodies are most effective when they reflect the diversity of views of the society they serve and this is an important part of the Government’s levelling up agenda.
We collect data about applicants’ characteristics and backgrounds, including information about people’s educational and professional backgrounds, so that we can make sure we are attracting a broad range of people to these roles and that our selection processes are fair for everyone. Without this information, it makes it difficult to see if our outreach is working, if the application process is having an unfair impact on certain groups and whether changes are making a positive difference.
When you submit your application, your responses are collected by the Cabinet Office and the government department(s) managing your application. The data is used to produce management information about the diversity of applicants. You can select “prefer not to say” to any question you do not wish to answer. The information you provide will not be seen by the Advisory Assessment Panel who review applications against the advertised criteria and conduct interviews.

Disability confident

We are a member of the Government’s Disability Confident scheme. We use the Disability Confident scheme symbol, along with other like-minded employers, to show our commitment to good practice in employing people with a disability. The scheme helps recruit and retain disabled people. As part of implementing the scheme, we guarantee an interview for anyone with a disability whose application meets the essential criteria for the role, set out in the advert, and who has asked that their application is considered under the scheme. Indicating that you wish your application to be considered under the scheme will in no way prejudice your application. By ‘essential criteria', we mean that you must provide evidence which demonstrates that you meet the level of competence required under each of the essential criteria, as set out in the job-advert. When you apply you will have the opportunity to select if you would like your application considered under this scheme.

Reasonable adjustments

We are committed to making reasonable adjustments to make sure applicants with disabilities, physical or mental health conditions, or other needs are not substantially disadvantaged when applying for public appointments. This can include changing the recruitment process to enable people who wish to apply to do so.
Some examples of common changes are:
  • ensuring that application forms are available in different or accessible formats;
  • making adaptations to interview locations;
  • allowing candidates to present their skills and experience in a different way;
  • giving additional detailed information on the selection / interview process in advance to allow candidates time to prepare themselves;
  • allowing support workers, for example sign language interpreters;
  • making provision for support animals to attend.
When you apply you will have the opportunity to request reasonable adjustments to the application process.

Principles of public life

The Seven Principles of Public Life (also known as the Nolan Principles) apply to anyone who works as a public office-holder.
1. Selflessness
Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest.
2. Integrity
Holders of public office must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that might try inappropriately to influence them in their work. They should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends. They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.
3. Objectivity
Holders of public office must act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias.
4. Accountability
Holders of public office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.
5. Openness
Holders of public office should act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing.
6. Honesty
Holders of public office should be truthful.
7. Leadership
Holders of public office should exhibit these principles in their own behaviour and treat others with respect. They should actively promote and robustly support the principles and challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs.

Code of conduct for board members

The Government expects all holders of public office to work to the highest personal and professional standards. In support of this, all non-executive board members of UK public bodies must abide by the principles set out in the Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies. The Code sets out the standards expected from those who serve on the boards of UK public bodies and will form part of your terms and conditions of appointment.

Management of outside interests and consideration of reputational issues

Holders of public office are expected to adhere and uphold the Seven Principles of Public Life and the Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies. Before you apply you should consider carefully: 
  • any outside interests that you may have, such as shares you may hold in a company providing services to government; 
  • any possible reputational issues arising from your past actions or public statements that you have made; 
  • and/or - any political roles you hold or political campaigns you have supported; 
which may call into question your ability to do the role you are applying for.
You will need to answer relevant questions in relation to these points when making an application. Many conflicts of interest can be satisfactorily resolved and declaring a potential conflict does not prevent you from being interviewed. If you are shortlisted for an interview, the panel will discuss any potential conflicts with you during that interview, including any proposals you may have to mitigate them and record that in their advice to ministers. Alongside your own declaration, we will conduct appropriate checks, as part of which we will consider anything in the public domain related to your conduct or professional capacity. This may include searches of previous public statements and social media, blogs or any other publicly available information. The successful candidate(s) may be required to give up any conflicting interests and their other business and financial interests may be published in line with organisational policies. 
Details of declared political activity will be published when the appointment is announced, as required by the Governance Code (political activity is not a bar to appointment, but must be declared).

Status of appointment

As this is an office holder appointment, you will not become a member of the Civil Service. You will not be subject to the provisions of employment law.

Appointment and tenure of office

Appointments are for the term set out in this advert, with the possibility of re-appointment for a further term, at the discretion of Ministers.  Any re-appointment is subject to satisfactory annual appraisals of performance during the first term in the post. There is no automatic presumption of reappointment; each case should be considered on its own merits, taking into account a number of factors including, but not restricted to, the diversity of the current board and its balance of skills and experience. In most cases, the total time served in post will not exceed more than two terms or ten years in any one post. 

Remuneration, allowances and abatement

Remuneration for this role is treated as employment income and will be subject to tax and National Insurance contributions, both of which will be deducted at source under PAYE before you are paid.
You can claim reimbursement for reasonable travel and subsistence costs which are properly and necessarily incurred on official business, in line with the travel and subsistence policy and rates for the organisation to which you are applying. However these payments are taxable as earnings and will be subject to tax and national insurance, both of which will be deducted at source under PAYE before you are paid.  

Pension and redundancy

This is an office holder appointment and does not attract any benefits under any Civil Service Pension Scheme. You will not be eligible for redundancy pay as you are not an employee. No other arrangements have been made for compensation upon the end of your term of appointment because an office holder who is appointed for a limited duration would have no expectation of serving beyond that period.

Application feedback

We will notify you of the status of your application. We regret that we are only able to offer detailed feedback to candidates who have been unsuccessful at the interview stage and Not at the sifting stage

How to complain

We aim to process all applications as quickly as possible and to treat all applicants with courtesy.
Please contact DWP ALB Public Appointments team in the first instance if you would like to make a complaint regarding your application at they will acknowledge your complaint upon receipt and respond within 15 working days.

How to complain to Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPA)

If you are not content with the appointing department’s response you may wish to further complain to the Commissioner at information on how the Commissioner handles complaints can be found on the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ website

Data protection

The Cabinet Office will use your data in line with our privacy policy.
The Department will process personal data relating to you in accordance with relevant departmental data protection policies.  The Department’s data protection privacy notice and relevant policies are available on the Department’s Personal  
Information Charter:   

Contact details

Please Contact the DWP ALB Public Appointment team if you have any questions regarding this vacancy: