skip tocontent

openness and accessibility:

Lord Hunt of Wirral engaged to lead independent review of the Financial Ombudsman Service and its relationship with external stakeholders

6 September 2007

The board of the Financial Ombudsman Service today announced that it had engaged the Rt Hon Lord Hunt of Wirral MBE (David Hunt) to lead an independent review of the organisation – focusing on the openness and accessibility of the ombudsman service to its wide range of customers and stakeholders.

The board has committed itself to external scrutiny by way of three-yearly independent reviews. The previous external review – inspecting the ombudsman service's case-handling procedures and systems – was carried out in 2004 by Professor Elaine Kempson. Her report, "Fair and reasonable: an assessment of the Financial Ombudsman Service", was published in full in July 2004.

The themes and focus for Lord Hunt's review were agreed by the board of the ombudsman service and published as part of its corporate plan for 2007/08. As detailed in the corporate plan, the review that Lord Hunt will undertake will involve an examination, from an external perspective, of:

  • whether the ombudsman service ought to do more to be visible and accessible to those it is designed to serve; and
  • whether the ombudsman service is making the most effective use of the information and experience derived from its dispute-resolution work, in order to add value for the benefit of industry, consumers and regulators.

Announcing Lord Hunt's independent review, Sir Christopher Kelly, chairman of the board of the Financial Ombudsman Service, said today:

I am very pleased that Lord Hunt has agreed to lead the second three-yearly review of the ombudsman service. He is widely respected for his extensive background and experience – in government, the law, public service and the financial sector – and he will bring with him a fresh and questioning approach to what openness and accessibility mean for an organisation such as ours.

Lord Hunt said:

Over half a million consumers and thousands of businesses of all sizes have enquiries and complaints dealt with by the Financial Ombudsman Service every year. It therefore has a substantial impact on the lives of all kinds of people across the UK – both directly, in its work settling individual disputes, and indirectly, as part of the statutory framework designed to reinforce confidence in financial services.

The way in which the ombudsman service connects with its customers and stakeholders is therefore crucially important to how it performs its functions. I very much look forward to leading this independent review of the relationship between the ombudsman and the outside world – and investigating, in dialogue with a wide variety of stakeholders, how that relationship, or network of relationships, can and should evolve.

The independent review headed by Lord Hunt is expected to take around six months to complete. He will present his findings – and any personal recommendations – to the chairman and board of the ombudsman service.

Lord Hunt is a partner at the law firm, Beachcroft LLP, and is a solicitor by background. A Conservative former cabinet minister, he is a member of the House of Lords and president of the Chartered Insurance Institute.

media enquiries

  • David Cresswell – phone 020 7964 0134
  • Emma Parker – phone 020 7964 0966
  • out of hours – phone 0771 8658 306

news image

useful link