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Reaching resolutions sooner


In past editions of the Circular we have talked about the steps we have been taking to improve the services we provide to the individuals and financial services providers who use our dispute services. An important part of this has been our Key Process Review project, which has looked at how we can improve our dispute handling process to provide an easier and more efficient system for our members and consumers.

We hope that many of you are noticing a positive change from these efforts. Our mailroom here at FOS is certainly noticing a difference: over the past four months our outgoing mail has decreased dramatically because we are sending more correspondence by email, and including phone calls as a formal step in our process. This is helping us to move more quickly through the dispute resolution process, and reducing the time delays associated with traditional post.

We are continuing our work to improve and streamline our processes and are now focusing on ways to deal with the large number of credit, deposit-taking and payment system disputes in the Specialist Resolution Group. We will be including more experienced case managers in the earlier stages of our process, so that they can use their expertise to identify cases that might resolve sooner with the help of a more senior member of staff. We will also be aiming to improve dispute handling times by reducing the number of steps in our dispute resolution process, which will allow us to issue decisions more quickly.

A pilot of this process change will begin on 1 August 2013. The pilot will include a limited number of financial services providers, to allow us to closely monitor changes to our dispute resolution timeframes. If a review of the pilot indicates positive results, we will look to roll out the new process to other FSPs.

We expect these changes will result in the faster resolution of cases and therefore a greatly reduced backlog in this type of dispute – a great outcome for consumers, FSPs and FOS.