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One of the key challenges for any organisation is making sure the outside world understands how you fit in with people’s lives. It’s a challenge that extends to ombudsmen like us, who together help to resolve people’s problems in pretty much every area of life in the UK – from hospitals and local councils, to shopping and energy supplies.
I often talk about the central role played by financial services throughout people’s lives – whether they’re running a home or running a business. But if someone’s had trouble with their boiler, been let down by a wedding venue or broken down on the motorway, they might not automatically think of what’s happened as a financial problem. So they might not know that, in many cases, the financial ombudsman can help sort things out.
In our annual review – which we published in May – we explain what we do to help consumers and financial businesses understand our role in what they do every day. To give more insight, in this ombudsman news we highlight the surprising breadth of the problems we see. And in ombudsman focus, Phil Miller gives an ombudsman’s perspective on an issue affecting thousands of people approaching retirement – the pension freedoms, which have now been available for a year.
Of course, being relevant – fitting in with people’s everyday lives – isn’t just about what you do. It’s also about how you do it. So I hope our annual review shows how, over the course of 16 years and three million cases, we’ve continued to develop our service – so we remain an efficient and accessible port of call for the everyday problems people and businesses encounter. As financial services keep evolving – along with people’s lives and expectations – that’s something we’ll stay focused on in the coming year.
ombudsman news gives general information on the position at the date of publication. It is not a definitive statement of the law, our approach or our procedure.
The illustrative case studies are based broadly on real-life cases, but are not precedents. Individual cases are decided on their own facts.