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financial ombudsman consults on plans for dealing with unprecedented complaint numbers

10 January 2013

consultation opens on ombudsman's our plans and budget for 2013/2014

The Financial Ombudsman Service today publishes its proposed plan and budget for the next financial year (2013/2014) - together with an update on the number of complaints and workload for the current financial year (2012/2013).

The plan and budget sets out how the ombudsman is planning to:

  • answer 2.2 million front-line consumer enquiries in 2013/2014 (1.3 million in the last financial year - 2011/2012);
  • work on 385,000 new cases (264,375 in the last financial year - a 45% increase);
  • resolve more disputes involving mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI) than ever before - a record 245,000 cases (nearly two-thirds of our expected workload);
  • take on 1,000 more case workers to tackle this unprecedented number of complaints;
  • respond to the continuing shift towards complex and harder-fought cases by increasing the number of ombudsmen to deal with the more entrenched disputes requiring a final decision.

The proposals to manage and fund this significantly increased workload include:

  • increasing the number of free cases from 3 to 25, raising the individual case fee from £500 to £550;
  • changing the way the largest businesses pay their case fees - to a new group-account fee - charged quarterly;
  • the levy - calculated in line with the estimated proportion of complaints across the different financial sectors - rising from £17.7m to £23m, largely reflecting PPI volumes;
  • keeping the supplementary case fee of £350 for each PPI mis-selling case referred to the ombudsman service, but chargeable only after 25 of these cases.

Tony Boorman, deputy chief ombudsman, said:

While we see some businesses using complaints positively to improve customer service, many continue to frustrate their customers with delays and inconvenience. This has a marked impact on our workload.

Two years after the court ruling confirmed the approach that financial businesses should take when handling PPI complaints, it's disappointing that we're still seeing significant numbers of unresolved disputes about mis-sold policies being referred to the ombudsman.

Our proposals ensure we have the resource to tackle these record case volumes and the businesses responsible for generating the biggest workload contribute the most to sorting it out.

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