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keep the name "ombudsman"!

A recent report suggested that people might not find "ombudsman" a welcoming word. We invited people to tell us what they thought about our name.

Here are some of the comments that people have emailed in to us - supporting the name "ombudsman".

  • I really think we should keep the word OMBUDSMAN. It has a solid, important, comforting feel about it - someone I would trust to sort out my problems.
  • As a working class person (and yes there are lots of us in Surrey), I'm almost offended by the suggestion that only so called middle class people understand what ombudsmen do and hence use the service. The word ombudsman is well established and clear and The Financial Ombudsman Service does "what it says on the tin".
  • I'd have thought it was a name that was generally recognised as being a sort of final arbitrator, which is what it is. Any changes might suggest the organisation was a first port of call for complaints rather than somewhere to go if all else fails.

The word has been adopted/accepted around the globe. So why should we try to find another to describe this function, when this one does the job so well? Keep the name "ombudsman". It rocks!

  • The confusion isn't about what the name means, it's the number of bodies and all the regulators etc that can be confusing. Potential confusion is only increased by name changes. So let's just try not to change things when we don't need to. Sorry for being so middle-class.
  • We all know what it stands for.
  • If people don't know what it means, they can always ask someone (as I did) or look it up in a dictionary. I am fed up with the constant dumbing down of things - especially language - in this country. KEEP THE NAME, PLEASE!
  • Ombudsman is a recognised term covering a range of services and has a "brand" image of independence and fairness. Keep it please.

The name "ombudsman" is so widely understood - and has such widespread currency - that it would seem foolish to throw it out, just because it has more than two syllables. And, for goodness sake, please not "tsar"!

  • I think ombudsman should be kept. It sounds important and protective. It makes me feel like if I had a problem then they would be there to protect my interests and sort it out!
  • I think you should keep the name "ombudsman". It's what we're used to in this country and in changing it you might end up with a name that seems to carry less authority.
  • I personally think we change too much in this country just to make sure that everyone understands what we're talking about. I believe the onus is on the individual to learn what these words mean.
  • Keep it! It means what it says and describes well the function provided. Any other word is no less complex. Words are not frightening.
  • Stop changing things and get on with a real job. Perhaps it's the syllable "man" that offends! How politically correct!
  • No problem with "ombudsman". Since its inception it's worked - "not broke - so don't fix it"!
  • For cost reasons alone, a change of name can NOT be justified. I suggest that you stop wasting money on cosmetic exercises and get on with the job the service was established to do.
  • I see no reason to change from "ombudsman", unless we wish to dumb down society even further.
  • It isn't a matter of "do you like it or not?" - it 's a matter of "is there a word which is more recognisable and widely used to describe the job?"

I can't think of a word which could replace "ombudsman" - and which would have greater instant recognition and understanding among the public.

  • It's a fantastic word. The fact that it's distinctive means that people know exactly who they're dealing with. Using any other term would lead to confusion, because the alternatives are presumably in use by other organisations, charities, companies, consumer groups ... Keep the name.
  • Having dealt with customers' complaints for many years, I know that they feel reassured by the authority that the Financial Ombudsman Service's name infers. Changing the name would erode that perceived authority. In the current climate, customers need all the reassurance that they can get.
  • Keep the name "ombudsman" ... please!!! It's an odd word, true. But English is so rich a language, absorbing words from other tongues with relative ease, that it would be a shame to let this one go.

This 24 year old Londoner says keep it - brilliant word!

  • Far too many organisations are making their names "user friendly" - losing their focus with the loss of their name. This often means that customers can't find the help they need because they can't remember the new dumbed-down name.
  • So many organisations change their name at a whole lot of expense for no real reward. Often it leads to more confusion. Just as people are starting to understand who you are and what you do, you change the name!
  • "Ombudsman" sounds like an official process (which it is) through which you can get an outcome to your problem - rather than just an advisory process or some sort of company that a consumer is going to have to pay for the services of.
  • "Ombudsman" has a nice basic Germanic ring to it which reminds us of the origins of our democracy - unlike words that one would associate with bureaucracies, such as "commissioner". All Northern European countries seem to have adopted it. Also the US, Italians and Brazilians. We should use the name more.
  • The word is now well established in the English language and appears in standard dictionaries.

The name is respected and trusted. In these days of "spin", the public needs continuity - not yet another change that means little to them!

  • It may not be the most welcoming name, but there isn't another word that sums up the combination of independence and fairness that an ombudsman is meant to produce.
  • Whatever the ombudsman is called, there's a significant proportion of the population who will only take an interest in the subject if and when they have a problem that needs sorting out. It's nonsense to expect 100% recognition!
  • The name "ombudsman" adds to the interest and richness of the English language. No other phrase, description or title could possibly sum up what you are, and do, in three short syllables. "People's representative"? A verbose seven, for instance. Shortest is best. And if people are ignorant of the term's derivation, let them learn.
  • It's a name used in many industries, and I think people know what to expect from an ombudsman. The most important point is impartiality.
  • If you change the name, people may think it's a "politically correct" decision because the name currently includes "man" - which is nonsense!
  • It's a great word ... please don't change it. There's enough dumbing-down in this country already.
  • It's not the name that people/businesses hear, it what it represents. Changing the name could send out a message that your core values have also changed.

I believe that doing away with the word "ombudsman" would reduce the perceived authority of the Financial Ombudsman Service and make consumers less likely to approach it. 

  • The term "ombudsman" has over 200 years earned a degree of authority and respect internationally - why change it?
  • Whilst the original choice was probably not the best, "ombudsman" has entered into our language and culture and should stay there. To re-brand - simply to make the name more acceptable - is a current trend which is expensive and produces little improvement.
  • As long as an ombudsman does their job, does it matter if the public at large does not particularly like the name?
  • How on earth can you justify spending money on considering and possibly implementing a new name? What possible benefit can be derived from such an expensive process.
  • There is too much dumbing-down - and this would be yet another erosion. Before we know it, we'll all be required to converse in text language.
  • Keep the name "ombudsman". Everyone knows what it means and what you do. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
  • The name has the right feel of gravitas about it - and has the "good baggage" of suggesting someone prepared to take on the Establishment on behalf of Joe Public.

Yes, retain the name "ombudsman". It implies authority and, perhaps, impartiality. Changing it would be as silly as changing "linesmen" to "referee's assistants".   

  • Whilst I can understand that changing the name may make the service more "accessible" to some, I fear that the costs outweigh the benefits. Had these been thought about? Education of the public as to the role of ombudsmen (in general) would seem to be more constructive.
  • I believe that any change of name will engender confusion. And, let us not forget, any change of name will be accompanied by an expensive advertising campaign which will do much to foster complaints from those consumers who believe that all organisations are fair game in the new modern world.
  • A good name. I see no reason to change - and change is always confusing.
  • I like the word "ombudsman". To me it signifies formality, fairness, thoroughness, professionalism and "the last word".
  • Of course you should keep the name. That's what you are. Otherwise you will presumably become some kind of meaningless management-speak "banking relations assistant" or something.
  • Changing the name sounds like a waste of resources. Don't fall for the marketing hype. Continue to fulfil your remit and leave a name change well alone!

I think the name is well understood and isn't considered at all outlandish these days. 

  • I think that the expense of re-branding will have a minimum impact for the consumer. It's the actions of an organisation that make the difference, not the name. Anyone remember Consignia?
  • There are ombudsman organisations for many trades now, not just the financial sector. So consumers understand what the name represents.

see the comments people emailed us in favour of changing our name

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