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ombudsman news

issue 138

November/December 2016

A client of mine complained to her bank and was passed between four different complaint handlers. She has mental health problems and this has made things worse. If she phones you, will she have to deal with multiple people again?

Wherever possible, we can adjust the way we work to meet people's needs. And where someone has mental health problems - or is vulnerable for some other reason - we often find having a single point of contact is really important for dealing with the complaint sensitively. So we'll make sure she doesn't need to deal with multiple people if she brings her complaint to us.

Dealing with one person throughout a complaint is a good thing for everyone - not just people with specific needs. There may still be times when more than one person needs to investigate a complaint - such as where an ombudsman steps in to make a final decision. But in many cases, an investigator will be able to deal with a complaint from start to finish - which is also more efficient, as it helps move cases along more quickly.

And of course, having a specific point of contact isn't the only way we can help. If your client needs us to always contact them over the phone, or at a certain time of day, for example, just let us know. And if you want to know more about how we're accessible to everyone, you can find more information on our website.

I'm always interested in the complaints data you share in ombudsman news, but I'm sometimes asked about complaints involving specific businesses as well - do you publish that information anywhere?

As you'll know, the statistics we publish quarterly in ombudsman news highlight the products we receive the most complaints about. But they don't show the individual businesses those complaints relate to.

Instead, we also publish information every six months - showing the number and outcome of the cases we handle relating to the 200 or so named financial businesses that together account for around 95% of our workload. And you can find more information on our website about all the ways we share information on the complaints we see.

Of course, we're always interested to know how people engage with the data we publish - and whether there's any way we can improve the information we provide. That's why we recently consulted on the complaints data we share - and we're grateful to those who sent us their thoughts. Look out for our response to that consultation, which we'll publish in December 2016

Image: ombudsman news 138

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.