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Issue 18 - August 2014

Fast, efficient, fair dispute resolution


In the last issue of the Circular, we outlined the significant initiatives we are working on to address recommendations made in the 2013 independent review of FOS. We are on track to deliver our core promise to resolve disputes in a more timely, efficient and fair manner by 1 July 2015. These initiatives are a key component of our 2014-2015 Business Plan.

As part of our 2013-2014 Business Plan, we implemented Project 500 to manage the large number of credit, deposit-taking and payment system disputes we receive. The project aimed to reduce our dispute backlogs and improve the timeliness and quality of our dispute resolution. We are pleased to say that Project 500 achieved its goal by reducing the number of unallocated disputes by 536 disputes by 30 June 2014. The success of Project 500 was a result of process changes that included:

  • adding specialist expertise earlier in the dispute process
  • reducing multiple touch points to resolve disputes more quickly, and
  • expediting certain disputes for decision, based on their profiles and criteria.

We are now replicating the strategies behind Project 500’s success as part of our ongoing Backlog Strategy. The strategy’s aim is to ensure we are operating without backlog by 1 January 2015.

As we develop and implement further improvements over the next year, we will continue to explain the changes and the way the changes may affect our stakeholders.

For more information on these initiatives, please click below. If you have further questions, please email


Backlog Strategy

Operating without a dispute backlog and improving our process

We implemented this initiative following the success of Project 500 and the extremely positive feedback we’ve received about our new style of written decisions. Our goal is to operate without a backlog by January 2015 and to involve specialist expertise earlier in the dispute process to make effective and efficient decisions.

Fast Track Process

Fast tracking decisions for simpler and low-value disputes

Following stakeholder consultation on our proposed process to resolve simpler and low-value disputes faster, on 2 June 2014 we implemented a pilot on single-issue low-value banking and finance disputes. As of 15 July 2014, the pilot had accepted 95 disputes and 40 of these disputes had already been resolved.



Review pilot results

September 2014

Implement any appropriate changes to the pilot scope or process

October 2014


Dispute Process Redesign

Streamlining our dispute resolution process

We released a background paper in May that outlined our proposed process improvements, and we consulted with key stakeholders in June to gather views and feedback. We received positive feedback from our stakeholders about our proposed changes to the dispute process. We also received suggestions about how the changes could be configured more effectively.

We are currently reviewing stakeholder feedback and making appropriate refinements to the process. We are also considering and scoping technology enhancements that will improve our dispute management, document exchange and communication processes with members and consumers.



Respond to stakeholder feedback, communicate proposed process design and follow up stakeholder feedback

July 2014

Release further details about new dispute process

September - October 2014


Financial Difficulty Enhancement Project

Streamlining our approach in order to achieve more timely outcomes in financial difficulty disputes

We consulted with key stakeholders in May and June to discuss how we can improve our approach to financial difficulty disputes. Following these discussions, our revised process will be:

  • early over-the-phone engagement
  • broader use of telephone conciliation, and
  • robust assessment of repayment arrangements.

We are preparing to pilot the new approach with a limited number of financial difficulty disputes. We will provide information and updates to our stakeholders soon.



Financial Difficulty pilot

Mid-August to Mid-October 2014

Consult on pilot results

October 2014

Review and finalise financial difficulty process

October - December 2014


Changes to our Terms of Reference

The recent independent review of FOS recommended changes to our processes and jurisdiction. Some recommendations included specific Terms of Reference changes, and others contained process changes which require amendments to the Terms of Reference. We recently consulted on a range of changes to our Terms of Reference, welcoming feedback from all interested stakeholders by 1 August 2014. You can read more here.



Release overview of proposed changes to stakeholders

July 2014

Provide update on TOR feedback

September 2014

Draft TOR changes and submit to ASIC for approval

October - December 2014

Finalise and release TOR changes

December 2014