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ombudsman news

issue 12

December 2001

feedback on proposals for the future of the banking and loans liaison group

a guest article written jointly by the British Bankers' Association (BBA), Building Societies Association (BSA)
and Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML)

A BBA/BSA/CML article regarding the future of the Banking and Loans Liaison Group appeared in the June 2001 edition of ombudsman news. This is a feedback statement, reporting how the BBA/BSA/CML intend to take the matter forward.

In the light of the responses received, and extensive discussion with the industry, the BBA/BSA/CML and their members have approved the setting up of a Joint Financial Ombudsman Service Steering Group (JSG) with the following structure:

Terms of reference
  • Respond to all relevant consultation papers
  • Examine high-level policy issues (with the focus to remain on banking and loans)
  • Comment on the Financial Ombudsman Service's budget
  • Own and maintain BBA/BSA/CML guidance notes
  • Set up and own the Financial Ombudsman Service's Practitioners' Panel (see below)
  • Report regularly, and take any requests for decisions, to the appropriate governing committee
  • The three trade associations: British Bankers' Association, Building Societies' Association, and Council of Mortgage Lenders
  • Around twelve members (7 from BBA, 3 from BSA, 2 from CML) serving a two-year term; initially membership for six members to be for one year to allow for rotation every 12 months. Members may send a pre-notified deputy to attend the meeting on their behalf
  • Financial Ombudsman Service representation (it may wish to use the JSG as a confidential sounding-board)
  • It has been agreed that the chair should rotate between the chief executives/ directors-general of the three trade associations. Ian Mullen, chief executive of the BBA, will chair the JSG for the
  • Secretariat support is to follow the chair
  • Minutes are to be skeletal - just a note of points of agreement and any action points
Frequency of meetings
  • Quarterly
Practitioners' Panel

BBA/BSA/CML also propose setting up a Financial Ombudsman Service Practitioners' Panel, with the features detailed below. The idea of the Practitioners' Panel is to facilitate dialogue between complaint-handlers within firms, and case-handlers at the Financial Ombudsman Service.

  • Tackle practical "nuts-and-bolts" type issues
  • Networking opportunity
  • Advisory group to the JSG. Any emerging policy to be referred to the JSG
Frequency and format of meetings
  • Initially fairly frequently (once every month/six weeks), then six monthly
  • BBA to host

The three trade associations are currently tasked with seeking nominations for JSG, and with setting dates for meetings in 2002.

If you have any questions regarding either the JSG or the Practitioners' Panel, in the first instance, please contact Chris Rawlins on 020 7216 8899 or by email at:

Walter Merricks, chief ombudsman

For printed copies of this or any of our publications, phone 020 7964 0092 or email publications.

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.