The government and pensions industry have agreed that the Pensions Ombudsman (TPO) should be given powers to introduce an early resolution service.

In a consultation published in December, the department for Work and Pensions proposed a series of measures that would allow TPO to centralise decision-making and cut its costs.

One proposal was to permit the body to provide an early resolution service, which would allow it to settle disputes between firms and customers before reaching a binding decision.

At the same time TPO should be able to handle complaints from employers regarding the pension scheme they chose for their staff.

This service would also determine whether a dispute could be resolved before going down a more formal route.

But some respondents warned this could result in increased costs to trustees if this process were to run in parallel with a scheme’s internal dispute process.

Also, there could be potential conflicts of interest if a case subsequently went down the formal determination route.

Despite this, the DWP also agreed that TPO should have the power to close cases where a settlement has been agreed by both parties.