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ombudsman news

issue 145

August 2018


I read in your annual review that you’re getting a new case-handling system. Will that have any impact on how my business needs to engage with the ombudsman service?

Our new case-handling system is part of our wider work to improve our digital capability – helping us make sure we’re working as efficiently as possible, and in a way that’s personal and convenient for anyone who uses our service. As well as the new system, in the coming months we’ll also be launching our online portals, reviewing how we record complaints, and improving our online content.

We plan to launch our new case-handling system in October 2018. While most of the changes we’re making won’t be visible to anyone outside the ombudsman service, there may be some things you need to consider.

what changes will I see?

Our case reference numbers are changing to a new format. The reference will start with the prefix “PNX” – because our new system is called Phoenix. Then there will be five numbers, ending with a four digit suffix made up of a combination of letters and numbers. Each part is separated by a hyphen, so you’ll end up with something like PNX-12345-A1B2.

This won’t affect all cases immediately. And if a case is already with us, we’ll continue to use the existing eight-digit reference. So, there’ll be a period where you’ll see references in both formats.

We’re also changing the format of our case handlers’ email addresses. The new format will be These changes will help us handle case-related emails more efficiently. While we’re transitioning from our old case handling system to our new one, you may notice that our case handlers will be using both addresses at the same time. It doesn’t matter which one you reply to – everything will get to the right place.

is there anything I need to do?

  • It’s worth checking whether our new case reference numbers will be an issue for any IT systems you use. If you think this might cause you problems, please contact our technical advice desk as soon as possible.
  • From October, if we have an email address on file for the person we’re contacting at your business, all correspondence will be sent by email. If you want to continue to receive correspondence by post, please contact our technical advice desk.
  • The letters we generate from our system will look different in the future. If you use scanning software that recognises our current letters, please contact our technical advice desk so we can give you more details.

is there anything else I need to know?

On 25 May 2018 the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force. We’ve already updated and made some changes to our complaint form in line with GDPR and to ensure a smooth experience for people using our service. Although it’s unlikely you’ll need to use this form yourself, you might see it as part of correspondence about complaints. The updated version is available here.

If you have any other questions, please email

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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.