As we set out in our Business Plan for 2013-2014, we are committed to delivering a more efficient and effective dispute resolution service.
In our last edition of The Circular we gave an update on Project 500, a pilot that we launched in August 2013 to deal with the large number of credit, deposit-taking and payment system disputes we receive.
The aim of the pilot is to reduce our dispute backlogs and improve the timeliness of dispute resolution. We have done this by 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. Since the project commenced, the Banking & Finance Recommendation list backlog has reduced by 244 cases.
We have also improved dispute handling times by reducing the number of steps in our process, which means we can issue decisions more quickly. By the end of December 2013, 497 cases had been assigned to be handled as part of Project 500, and of these cases, 228 were already closed.
We have been working closely with financial services providers and consumers to ensure the success of the pilot, and through regular feedback, surveys and quality checks, we have refined some processes. Despite the tight timeframes, everyone involved has been working with us to meet the requirements of the pilot.
We will continue to provide Project 500 updates in the coming months, and we welcome feedback from financial services providers, consumers and consumer advocates on their experience of the project.