skip tocontent

publishing complaint data about named financial businesses - ombudsman sets out next steps

25 September 2008

The Financial Ombudsman Service today releases proposals for the way it will implement its decision to publish data on the complaints it handles about named financial businesses.

This follows an independent report by Lord Hunt of the Wirral, published in April 2008, which recommended that greater transparency in complaints-handling should include the ombudsman making information publicly available about how individual financial businesses deal with complaints.

This was accepted by the non-executive board of the Financial Ombudsman Service, as confirmed in the ombudsman's annual review (published in May 2008) and the policy statement on the ombudsman service's strategic approach to transparency (published in July 2008).

The plans published today by the ombudsman service include proposals to publish half-yearly:

  • the number of complaints referred to the ombudsman service in relation to the 150 or so financial businesses which produce most cases;
  • the percentage of "upheld" complaints - where the outcome changed in favour of the consumer following the ombudsman service's involvement.

The ombudsman service seeks comments - from all interested parties - on a number of specific practical issues, such as:

  • how to show data for financial businesses that operate under various trading names;
  • how data on the outcome of complaints should be verified;
  • what period the data should cover;
  • how far it is possible to put the data in a wider context (such as the size of the businesses concerned).

The Financial Ombudsman Service's plans for the publication of complaints data are separate from - but complementary to - proposals that the Financial Services Authority (FSA) published in May 2008. The FSA's proposals for publishing complaints data relate to the information it receives from regulated firms - about the number and outcome of complaints that firms have received from consumers.