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Chairman’s New Year Message

2013 marks a significant milestone for TPAS as we mark our 30th anniversary year.  I would like to thank our current and previous generations of volunteers for generously donating their time and skills to help others.  We never take their donation of time and effort for granted.  It is humbling that last year alone we estimated that our volunteers gave 52,000 hours of time to support members of the public.

The role of volunteers lies at the heart of the TPAS offering.  It differentiates us from much of the public sector and at a time of public spending cuts offers a lifeline to continue delivering a quality service.

I would like to thank our Regional Organisers whose role has grown over the years.  They make an immeasurable contribution to the organisation of our activities.  They are a key lynchpin with our London office and act as recruiters, mentors and sometimes offer a gentle admonishment.  We are looking at how we can build on the success of the Regional Organiser model whilst recognising that the distribution of our volunteers across the country has changed over time.

Technology playing its part

Technology is playing a significant part in adapting our ways of working to cope with the public's demands particularly for information and guidance.   We have almost completed a significant programme of work upgrading our infrastructure - IT refresh, new customer relationship management system and state of the art telephone system.

We are currently engaged in a project to upgrade the website - content and performance - to enable it to offer new functionality including video content as well as working with other bodies to enhance the information provided.  We have recently launched our facebook page and are tweeting. This reflects the fact that many new pension savers, especially many being auto-enrolled, are used to receiving their information through modern media.  We are looking at how we can use this new technology to support our volunteers, more than just using e-mail addresses to communicate and the intranet to share technical information. In fact, you can follow us on twitter @TPASnews to keep up to date.

30th Anniversary

Our 30th anniversary provides an opportunity to look back and reflect.  There is no doubt that the establishment of what was OPAS back in 1983 was revolutionary for its time.  I'd like to take this opportunity to acknowledge Margaret Brand whose foresight and vision led to the creation of what is now TPAS.  The recent changes to state, public and private pensions, including the introduction of automatic enrolment and the recent announcement on the flat rate state pension, all demonstrate that we are just as relevant now as we were at our founding.  Arguably, the landscape is more complex and uncertain for the public and the difficulty of navigating through it more challenging for professionals in the industry.  However, the ability to boil it all down to jargon free, impartial, digestible information has always been one of TPAS's strengths.

Partha Dasgupta
Chairman, The Pensions Advisory Service

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