Financial Ombudsman increases complaint level predictions as performance continues to improve

Press release Strategic plans and budget

Today we published our final Plans and Budget detailing the next phase of our transformation, whilst confirming the increased caseload we expect in the upcoming financial year.  

  • We are expecting higher demand in the year ahead, with an anticipated caseload of 210,000 complaints.
  • The higher caseload comes as we commit to resolving complaints faster with more stretching targets set for the year ahead.
  • We have also confirmed that lower case fees and levy charges will reduce the cost to industry by over £60m in real terms.

When consulting on our plans in December last year, we estimated we would receive around 181,300 new cases in 2024/25. Following discussion with businesses and consumer groups that figure has since been elevated to 210,000.

The predicted rise is a result of several factors including everyday financial concerns such as unaffordable lending, credit card complaints and fraud and scams. It’s also a result of those motor finance commission cases which are not affected by the Financial Conduct Authority’s review of historical practices coming to us.

We have also made significant strides in the service we offer to both consumers and businesses. We have reduced the time it takes to resolve a case from 4.8 months in 2022/23 to 2.96 months by the last three months of 2023/24. We have also set ourselves a new target of resolving 90% of cases within six months.

Abby Thomas, Chief Executive and Chief Ombudsman of the Financial Ombudsman Service, said:

The Financial Ombudsman Service continues to make significant improvements in the service we offer, getting customers decisions more quickly while maintaining the high quality of our work. We will be even more ambitious next year, with plans to resolve complaints faster, while also reducing the cost of our service to businesses.

In the year ahead it’s likely that our service will see increasing levels of complaints, with many of those disputes expected to focus on the critical issues that impact people’s everyday lives. This includes perceived unaffordable lending, concerns about car loan agreements, and disputes around fraud and scams.”

We have committed to resolve 17% more cases in the year ahead than in 2023/24, up from 192,500 to 225,000.

This increased workload will be tackled partly by recruiting more case handlers. There is also a commitment to continue investing in the customer and business digital journey, as well as expanding our regional presence in the UK to ensure we are accessible to different communities.

Ms Thomas added:

With uncertainty around casework levels in the year ahead, we’re building a service which is flexible and agile, allowing us to respond to increased demand across any area of our business.

Our plans will help ensure that the customer is at the heart of everything we do. We want every person who engages with our service to clearly understand the outcome of their case. Now more than ever it’s crucial that businesses work with us to improve all customers’ experiences of financial services.”

Within today’s plans, we confirm our intention to reduce the cost of our services to industry in 2024/25. The case fee will drop by £100 per case to £650, while the compulsory and voluntary jurisdiction levy costs to businesses will also be reduced. This will result in over an effective £60 million reduction in case fee and levy costs to businesses, once inflation and increases in the number of cases are taken into account.

We previously sought views on the possible exercising of new powers granted in the Financial Services and Markets Act, allowing the organisation to charge claims management companies and other relevant professional representatives.

Following positive feedback on the initial consultation, we intend to consult on further detail in the first quarter of this financial year.

Notes to editors

About the data

We expect to receive:

  • 149,200 banking and credit complaints, of which 13,900 will be about motor finance commission that fall outside the FCA’s review
  • 47,400 insurance complaints, of which 18,700 will be about motor insurance, and
  • 12,800 investment and pensions complaints, of which very few will be about the British Steel Pension Scheme.

About the Financial Ombudsman Service

We were set up by Parliament to resolve individual complaints between financial businesses and their customers on a fair and reasonable basis, as a free alternative to the courts. We can look into problems involving most types of money matters. We are committed to sharing insight and experience to encourage fairness and confidence in financial services.

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