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corporate plans and budgets » Plan & Budget 2002/03 - Business plans

‘we plan to improve the business process in the light of practical experience, and to further refine our benchmarks for quality and timeliness’

introduction

4.1 The first year of our operation was concerned with laying the foundations for the combined ombudsman service. The current year, as we have already noted, has seen us implementing a new business process and unified case-handling system and achieving an increased level of productivity and improved timeliness - despite the disruption. Our key tasks for 2002/03 will be to stabilise the case-handling system and business process following the rapid change of the last two years, and to focus on quality and timeliness.

key tasks

4.2 key tasks in the coming year

a) establish the level of service that users expect of us and refine our targets in the light of this research We have begun by undertaking a consumer satisfaction survey and by researching the demographic profile of our customers. We will combine these results with other research on the financial services industry and use the information we gain to help us establish quality benchmarks.

b) further develop our new business process and system Having brought together the business processes from the old schemes and implemented a new unified case-handling system, we plan to improve the business process in the light of practical experience, and to further refine our benchmarks for quality and timeliness. We also propose to enhance our new case-handling system, giving it greater functionality, and adding document imaging.

c) flexible working As we develop as a single operation, we will need the flexibility to move resources across the organisation to deal efficiently with changes in the balance of our workload. We have begun a project to review our structure and working practices to ensure we perform as efficiently as possible. This will involve a continuing investment in staff training and effective ‘knowledge management’.

d) independent assessor The board of the Financial Ombudsman Service has appointed an independent assessor, Sir Edward Osmotherly, to deal with any complaints we have not been able to resolve concerning the service we provide when handling complaints against firms (our standards of courtesy, efficiency, timeliness etc). We are committed to operating a swift and open process for dealing with such complaints, and the feedback they provide will help us improve the way in which we operate.

e) service quality and best practice We are undertaking a project that will look at all aspects of the way we work, taking the best practice from each of our divisions, and setting new targets in relation to the way we handle complaints. This will include the usual indicators such as timeliness and productivity, but will also focus on the clarity and accessibility of the way we communicate.

f) training and development We continue to make training and development a priority. By the end of 2001/02, we expect to have undertaken the equivalent of approximately 2,500 days of training. This includes training on the new rules, use of new technology and managing change. We are now able to offer accredited management development for new managers and, as part of our commitment to equality of opportunity for all our employees and the users of our service, we have undertaken diversity awareness training. We intend to continue with a high emphasis on training, and will focus in particular during the coming year on developing the skills of managers and of those whose work entails resolving complaints over the telephone.

conclusion

4.3 The key task has been to keep the level of productivity above those of the old schemes, while introducing the new case-handling system and business process. We have done this at a time when the numbers of new cases have been rising significantly. The challenge now is to harness the new system and process to give improvements in the quality and timeliness of our work.