Our strategy: Reporting on our strategic measures 2021/22

Since we launched our new strategy in 2020, we have deliberately set ourselves stretching and ambitious targets for the areas that comprise the three pillars of our strategy: 

Pink leaf Enhancing our service
Green leaf Preventing complaints and unfairness arising
Purple leaf Building an organisation with the capabilities it needs for the future

Here you can read about how we performed in 2021/22, against the challenges we faced.

Highlights

In what has been another busy and challenging year, we have made real progress against our targets. Some key highlights include:

  • Cutting the unallocated backlog of cases, our front-end queue, from around 90,000 to just over 37,000.
  • Reducing our total stock of cases from 164,529 to 112,000, the best performance in three years.
  • Resolving 218,740 cases against a target of 220,000. Taking into account the 16,000 Amigo cases we are unable to progress, we resolved 14,740 more cases than we set out to.
  • Improving our productivity by 12%.
  • Achieving a staff engagement score of 79%, against our target of 70%.
  • Continuing the roll-out of technology improvements and putting IT contracts in place to transform our customer interface.

These improvements set a solid platform for the significant changes we plan to make as part our Action Plan. But we know we have more work to do, particularly in areas where we did not reach our targets and need to increase focus. This will be reflected in our refreshed strategy and new strategic measures, which will be published shortly.

On this page you will find detail about our progress against each of our three strategic pillars.

Enhancing our service

We started this year facing a number of issues, particularly around our timeliness and a significant unallocated backlog, which had partly been brought about by the increase in cases relating to the pandemic. We have made significant progress addressing those issues, while maintaining the quality of our work.  

Where we met or exceeded our targets:

  • Our cost per case was slightly lower than targeted. This was driven by both higher case resolutions and lower costs.
  • When looking at the number of cases we resolved, although we were unable to close the 16,000 Amigo cases due to an ongoing legal process outside our control, this was compensated for by overperformance across all areas of casework. Taking the Amigo cases into account, we resolved 14,740 more cases than we set out in our plans.
  • Financial business satisfaction with our service was on-target at 80%.
  • We implemented a new Quality Framework in July 2021, with quality checklists at three important milestones: case setup, investigation, and final decisions, each with their own targets – which have mainly been met or exceeded. We also established a quality team, whose role it is to support the organisation in analysing the results from quality checks as well as identifying areas for improvement, in either technology, process or training.  
    We finished the year with 0.64% of the cases we resolved having resulted in an avoidable service complaint, which tracks with our target of 0.65%. 

Where we did not meet our targets: 

  • Our people made a strong and sustained effort over the year to close all cases older than 18 months. We started the year with 47,551 cases which had been with us for 18 months or more. At the end of the year we had 9,081 cases older than 18 months; we are unable to progress 8,918 of these cases due to issues outside of our control, including ongoing judicial reviews. By end March 2021, this left 163 of these oldest cases to close, against our ambitious target of zero. 
  • We have also made significant progress on reducing our unallocated backlog – down from 90,000 in May 2021 to approximately 37,000 at the of end March.
  • Our focus on our oldest cases meant the median time to resolve a case was 6.4 months, above the 4.2 target we set, and consumer satisfaction scores have decreased. This was seen most significantly on non-upheld cases, where they dropped from 43% to 36% against a target of 45%. Scores from consumers whose cases were upheld have also decreased over time, but at much smaller percentage points, going from 90% to 88% against a target of 90%.
  • More data

    Cost, efficiency and timeliness

      How we performed

    Our aims:

    2021-22 Variance from target 2020-21
    Deliver the budgeted cost per case of £1,045 £1,041 £4 £1,040
    Median time from conversion to resolution is no more than 4.2 months 6.41 -2.21 4.41
    No open cases older than 18 months by the end of 2021/22  163 -163

    N/A

     

    Customers and quality
      How we performed
    Our aims: 2021-22 Variance from target 2020-21
    Consumer satisfaction for non-upheld cases is 45% or above 36% -9% 43%
    Consumer satisfaction for upheld cases is 90% or above 88% -2% 90%
    Business satisfaction is 80% or above 80% 0% 79%
    Quality score target of 85% for case setup 89% 4% N/A
    Quality score target of 85% for investigations 84% -1% N/A
    Quality score target of 85% for final decision 99% 14% N/A
    No more than 0.65% of closures result in an upheld service complaint 0.64% 0.01% 0.6%

Preventing complaints and unfairness arising

Our prevention targets for this year were focused on a few ways in which we can demonstrate our work in this area, but we have also achieved a lot outside of these measures.

  • We survey businesses each year to seek their feedback on how useful they find our insight and information resources. We conducted our latest survey in March 2022, and 75% of businesses rated the resources as ‘very helpful’ or ‘quite helpful’.
  • Prompted awareness of our service has remained high throughout the year, with nine in ten consumers having some awareness of us.
  • We have continued to engage with trusted partners to ensure people with financial complaints are signposted to us when they may need us. Our website is easy for people to find when searching for help with a financial problem – and this year we launched our new complaint checker tool, making it clear when we can help, and who to turn to if we cannot. We continue to provide detailed guidance on our website, as well as support through our technical advice desk, to help financial businesses resolve complaints early on. 
  • Only 2% of the media coverage we received this year was negative – 79% was positive, with the remaining being neutral. We worked with key media outlets throughout the year to share key preventative messages, including around fraud and scams and packaged bank accounts.
  • This year we also reinvigorated the Wider Implications Framework, providing for formal collaboration amongst the regulatory family on issues with wider implications, and published our first log and minutes.
  • More data

    Prevention

     

    How we performed

    Our aims:

    2021/22

    Variance from target

    2020/21

    Proportion of businesses that find our overall insight and information resources helpful (not targeted) 75% N/A N/A
    Prompted awareness of our service is 80% 91% 11% 90%

Building an organisation with the capabilities it needs for the future

Where we met or exceeded our targets:

  • We survey our staff each year, and this year our staff engagement score has increased, above our target of 70%. As we go through a period of change, employee engagement is essential, and we will continue to focus on employee engagement, and involving people in the decisions that affect them.
  • We met our strategic measure for sickness absence this year. The overall lost time rate over the financial year was 2.6%, which is 0.4% better than our target. Although this is 0.8% higher than 2020/21, it reflects the overall sickness environment, where Covid-19, mental health, and the relaxing of restrictions have all played a part. 
  • We exceeded our target to reduce our premises and facilities budget by 8%, largely due to the termination of property leases during the course of the year. This is a significant step towards reducing our carbon footprint. 

Where we did not meet our targets:

  • Our target for our senior managers identifying as being from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds was 20%, and we achieved 16%. Representation of minority ethnic colleagues in the whole organisation is 35%. Continued efforts in recruitment, targeted intervention, like our planned talent development programme (for under-represented groups at the level just below Senior Manager) and a focused action plan to reduce our pay gap form a key part of our ongoing plan to improve representation at a senior level.
  • 45% of our senior managers are female, which is 5% short of our target. Despite this, we have improved our female representation at this level by 4% since 2019. This is also against a backdrop of the pandemic, which had a greater impact on women’s employment than men’s.
  • We have seen our overall turnover steadily increase from 9.7% in April 2021 to 26.6% by March 2022. This includes planned redundancies, which were originally intended to take place in 2020-21, but mainly came into effect in the second quarter of 2021-22. Without the planned redundancies, our attrition level was 17.3%. By the start of Q3, attrition levels had increased to 21.3% as the country emerged from the pandemic and opportunities opened. Last year’s attrition figure was also lower than expected as a result of fewer people moving jobs during the pandemic.  

In addition to our progress against the measures set out at the start of the year, in December 2021 we published our Action Plan for changing and improving the Financial Ombudsman Service, ensuring we are an organisation fit for the future. Our change portfolio of work set up to deliver against that plan is already delivering results, and an update on our progress against the plan will be published in June.

  • More data

    People capability

      How we performed
    Our aims: 2021/22 Variance from target 2020/21
    Our staff engagement score is at 70% or above 79% 9% 74%
    At least 85% of our staff feel included, respected and accepted within the service  84% -1% 82%
    At least 20% of our senior managers identify as being from black, Asian or other minority ethnic backgrounds 16% -4% 18%
    50% of our senior managers identify as female 45% -5% 43%
    Our overall staff attrition (including redundancies) is no more than 18%  26.6% -8.6% 9.7%
    Overall lost sickness time rate is no more than 3% 2.6% 0.4% 1.8%

     

    Sustainability
      How we performed
    Our aims: 2021/22 Variance from target 2020/21
    Reduce our premises and facilities budget by 24% 32% 8% N/A
    Reduction in our carbon footprint of 45% by 2022/23 N/A N/A N/A