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. 

    Read more

  • 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. 

    Read more

  • 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

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.

Our measures for 2021/22 – cost, efficiency and timeliness

  • Deliver on the budgeted cost per case of £1,045. This means the total cost of the organisation, excluding investment spend, bad debt, contingency and restructuring costs, divided by the number of cases we resolve.
  • Median time from conversion (when an enquiry becomes a case we take on to investigate in more depth) to resolution is no more than 4.2 months.
  • No open cases older than 18 months by the end of 2021/22.

Our measures for 2021/22 – customers and quality

  • Consumer satisfaction for non-upheld cases is 45% or above, based on our case closure survey.
  • Consumer satisfaction for upheld cases is 90% or above, based on our case closure survey.
  • Business satisfaction is 80% or above, based on our survey of business complaints-handlers.
  • Our overall internal quality checks show 85% to 95% of cases are assessed as exceeding expectations, and 95% and over of cases are assessed as meeting expectations.
  • No more than 0.65% of resolutions result in an upheld service complaint (a complaint made to us about the service we’ve provided).

More detail on these measures

  • Our target to resolve older cases excludes those affected by new/novel issues, those with a potentially significant impact on businesses or consumers, and those affected by litigation or legal complexity.
  • We’ll be acquiring a new tool and updating our methodology to enable us to better measure consumer and business satisfaction with our service. We’ll be transitioning to this new way of measuring in H2 of 2021/22.
  • As part of our work under this strategic priority, we’re currently reviewing our quality framework and methodology. During the year we’ll transition to a new framework, including a new approach to measuring our internal quality.

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.

Our measures for 2021/22

  • The proportion (not targeted) of businesses that find our overall insight and resources – including our website, decisions database and technical desk – extremely helpful or very helpful (based on results to our survey of businesses about which we’ve closed a case in the last six months).
  • Prompted awareness of our service is 80%.

More detail on these measures

  • As we develop our work under this strategic priority, we’ll build our understanding of how, and how successfully, it’s achieving our aim of preventing complaints and unfairness arising. There are significant challenges in this type of evaluation – including how we can identify and measure detriment that hasn’t happened – and during the year we’ll be trialling different approaches to gauging the impact we’re having.

  • 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

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.

Our measures for 2021/22 – people

  • Our staff engagement score is at 70% or above, based on our employee surveys. We define engagement as being when an employee feels included and valued in the workplace, is fully committed to their work, and is proactively working towards the aims and objectives of the organisation.
  • At least 85% of our staff feel included, respected and accepted within the service (those who agree or strongly agree in response to our surveys). 
  • At least 20% of our senior managers identify as being from black, Asian or other minority ethnic backgrounds.
  • 50% of our senior managers identify as female (in line with our commitment under the Women in Finance Charter).
  • Our overall staff attrition (staff leaving us, excluding those who we recruit but who don't go on to start employment with us) is no more than 18% – and of this figure, no more than 12% are “regretted” leavers (that is, staff that don’t leave as a result of their contract ending, redundancy, settlement agreements or performance issues, or whose roles aren’t being backfilled).
  • Overall lost sickness time rate is no more than 3% (days lost to absence as a proportion of total working days).

Our measures for 2021/22 – sustainability

  • Reduce our premises and facilities budget by 24%.
  • From the benchmark assessment carried out by the Carbon Trust in 2017, a reduction in our carbon footprint (measured in tonnes of CO2) of 45% by 2022.

More detail on these measures

  • Our people measures, in particular our targets around ethnicity and gender representation, are part of a wider set of commitments around diversity, inclusion and wellbeing. These are detailed in our action plan.
  • The implementation of our shared HR and finance programme, together with our aim to adopt cloud services where possible, aren’t included within our strategic measures. However, they’re essential building blocks in enabling us to deliver more accessible technology solutions – to improve both our internal processes and the service we offer.
  • The reduction in our premises and facilities budget is compared to our 2020/21 Q3 forecast – and is expected to be achieved as a result of taking advantage of some lease-break opportunities during 2021/22.

  • 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

Summary of our strategic measures for 2021/22

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.

Technology

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.

Consumers

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 in future. We need to balance this with the needs of our staff and ensure that we attract, develop 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.