Contributing to a fairer financial world

Our three strategic priorities for the next five years:

  • Enhancing our service

    We’ll set the standard for modern, efficient, accessible alternative dispute resolution.

    We'll recognise and respond to the needs and expectations of the people and organisations that rely on us.

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  • Preventing complaints and unfairness arising

    Working collaboratively with others, we'll find new and better ways of harnessing and using our insight to achieve fairer outcomes. 

    Sharing our insight from the work we do, we'll help underpin trust and confidence. 

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  • Building an organisation with the capabilities it needs for the future

    Using our strength as a diverse, values-based organisation - a place where people want to work - we'll develop the capabilities we'll need in the future. 

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  • Our chairman on our strategy

    As we look to the future, we will continue to build on the trust, respect and reputation we have as a service, to serve our customers as their needs evolve. Our strategic priorities will guide and direct us as we take this journey to an even more efficient and effective service.

    Baroness Zahida Manzoor CBE, chair of the board

  • Our chief ombudsman on our strategy

    I want our organisation to lead the way in alternative dispute resolution, and be a place where people are proud to work. And we need to be one step ahead. Our focus on fairness is unwavering, and our ability to identify future detriment will require us to act decisively in raising the issue, and ultimately preventing problems before they reach us.

    Caroline Wayman, chief ombudsman and chief executive

What success looks like

Enhancing our service

We’ll set the standard for modern, efficient, accessible  alternative dispute resolution.  

We’ll recognise and respond to the needs and expectations of the people and organisations that rely on us.

What success will look like

  • Our work is consistently of a high-quality and our service is efficient and effective. 
  • We quickly get to the heart of the problems people bring to us. 
  • We provide outcomes that are fair and feel fair.
  • We give answers within a timeframe that meets expectations. 
  • Significantly more people - both the businesses we cover and the people who need us - are more aware of our service and how we can help. 
  • We’re convenient and accessible to everyone who might need us, no matter what their circumstances.
  • Our customers feel listened to, understood and reassured about what to expect.
  • We identify and challenge potential unfairness, stopping problems from escalating.
  • We are sensitive to the external environment and the impact it has on our customers.

  • Richard Thompson

    Although our case volumes ebb and flow, our commitment to quality remains the same. People need to be able to rely on our answers and have the utmost confidence in our service – and as we look ahead, we’re focused on how we can shrink waiting times while maintaining this high quality.

    Richard Thompson, principal ombudsman and quality director

  • Garry Wilkinson

    As a demand-led service, we need to respond quickly and effectively to rapidly-changing caseloads. I’m proud that our staff not only rise to these challenges but embrace them with enthusiasm.

    Garry Wilkinson, principal ombudsman and director of investigation

Preventing complaints and unfairness arising

Working collaboratively with others, we’ll find new and better ways of harnessing and using our insight to achieve fairer outcomes.

Sharing our insight from the work we do, we’ll help underpin trust and confidence.

What success will look like

  • Stakeholders use our insight to shape public policy and influence business and consumer behaviour.
  • We are trusted to provide an evidence-based, objective perspective on all relevant issues.
  • Our insight helps to shape the design of products and services, to prevent unfairness arising.
  • Our insight helps to influence the way in which consumers are informed and equipped to make the right choices.
  • Our insight helps to inform and influence the way in which businesses make decisions.
  • We will draw attention to the detriment we discover and share good practice.

  • Julia Cavanagh

    The value of the service needs to go beyond simply resolving complaints efficiently. We should also be able to demonstrate our value through sharing insight, preventing problems and identifying unfairness.

    Julia Cavanagh, chief financial officer

  • Annette Lovell

    Our stakeholders trust us to share sound insight that helps inform their decisions, and we’re proud to be able to speak up about detriment we see – working in collaboration to prevent consumer harm.

    Annette Lovell, director of strategy and engagement

Building an organisation with the capabilities it needs for the future

Using our strength as a diverse, values-based organisation - a place where people want to work - we’ll develop and retain the capabilities we’ll need in the future.

What success will look like

  • We better understand how society, the economy and the industry are changing, and what that means for the markets we cover.
  • We anticipate the future capabilities we will need and we acquire them, so we’re well placed to respond to changes as they happen.
  • We attract and retain people with diverse capabilities, experiences and ways of thinking – leading the way as an employer and reflecting the society we’re here to help.
  • We’re better at identifying where future detriment could arise and taking action to respond.

  • Caroline Nugent

    We’re proud to be a diverse workplace, where people of all backgrounds feel supported to perform at their best – and always delivering excellent customer service.

    Caroline Nugent, director of human resources

  • Nicola Wadham

    We need to ensure we remain a modern, accessible organisation – especially for those that need us most. That means investing in the channels they can use, and providing a seamless experience.

    Nicola Wadham, chief information officer

Supporting research

We have developed our future strategy by evaluating the key trends and likely developments in our operating environment and understanding what our customers need and expect from our service now and in the future.

We’ll continue to face new challenges as our landscape evolves…

The economy

Globalisation, driven by faster transport and communication links, has fundamentally changed lives and livelihoods. And a rapidly changing and uncertain political and economic environment is the new normal. In the UK, concerns about inequality – including between generations – have risen alongside levels of personal borrowing.

Financial services

Fintech (financial technology) is redefining the customer relationship – but while more people gain more control over their finances, others can feel left behind. Customers can be empowered by having more information when making decisions – while businesses are increasingly making use of algorithms and big data. The transfer of wealth through generations and growing demand for socially responsible business could shape new products and services.

Services like ours

For dispute resolution services like ours, there’s increasing focus on resolving things earlier and preventing consumer detriment. The sector will continue to be shaped by enhanced data analytics and machine learning technologies. Providers are looking to simplify the customer experience through streamlining and redesigning the customer ‘journey’ and digitising services.


Digital connectivity continues to change how people look for information and communicate – with anyone, anywhere and anytime. Chatbots and virtual assistants have the potential to replace human interaction. Advances in ‘big data’, analytics and automation are accelerating the processing of insight and complex decisions – but can also make it more difficult for people to understand the reasons behind those decisions.

The workforce

With an ageing population, the diverse needs and preferences of a multigenerational workforce – with different economic and social perspectives – are coming to the fore. There’s also growing recognition of the importance of wellness at work, and employees are looking for greater flexibility at all stages of life. Technology could contribute to improved productivity, but may require employees to quickly adapt and take on new skills.


Better access to information and opinion – through both formal and informal channels – has helped empower many consumers to make financial decisions. Quick access to credit, and the move towards a cashless society are changing consumers’ expectations and priorities. People increasingly value – and expect – immediacy. At the same time, some consumers are increasingly conscious of privacy concerns – as well as their own social responsibility and that of the organisations they engage with.

Our research highlighted the uncertainty we will continue to face and the impact this will have on demand for our service. New product types and reliance on technology could mean the volume, value and volatility of detriment will be greater than in the past. More people could be excluded, or unaware they’ve experienced detriment.

Responding to these trends and effectively supporting our customers will almost certainly need different skills and capabilities to today. We need to balance this with the needs of our staff and ensure that we attract and retain the right skills and experience at the right time.

Our future strategy reflects the ongoing need to respond to this shifting environment and changing customer needs. It will position us to more proactively understand this change, so we can better prepare and adapt for the future.

Next steps

We’ve already starting planning how we will deliver on this strategy. We’ll be looking at what we need to achieve and by when. We’ll assess whether we have the right skills to be able to deliver our strategy and how we can measure the success of it.  We have already seen significant and unprecedented changes to the external environment as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. We’ll continue to proactively monitor the impact of this as well as other changes on our service and adapt our plans as necessary throughout the duration of this strategy. Remaining flexible, open, and committed to working with our partners will be fundamental to making it a success.