Streamlining our approach in order to achieve more timely outcomes in financial difficulty disputes
A new process
In August 2014 we implemented the first pilot trialling a new approach to financial difficulty disputes. The trial approach includes a single case worker, more targeted phone contact, more conciliations sooner and quicker results.
The benefits of the new approach are:
- early over-the-phone engagement
- broader use of telephone conciliation
- enhanced assessment of repayment arrangements
- more effective gathering of information
We have achieved positive early results, with disputes resolving within an average timeframe of 29 days. The provision of a summary of credit facilities at the commencement of the process by FSPs enables us to immediately have targeted discussions with applicants.
The pilot has now stopped accepting disputes and a second round of stakeholder consultation will follow once outcomes have been assessed.
A clear picture of each applicant’s financial position
A second pilot – which focuses on gathering financial information from applicants as early as possible – commenced in September 2014.
FSPs which are members of FOS opt in to the pilot by volunteering disputes that present with little or no financial information. Applicants who have never prepared a Statement of Financial Position (SOFP) before, and would like help, are offered an over-the-phone appointment with a financial difficulty team member. The appointment is dedicated to the purpose of building a clear picture of the applicant’s financial difficulty, so that FOS and FSPs can identify solutions sooner.
Over-the-phone consultations to prepare an SOFP is cutting the time taken receive financial information from 3-4 weeks, to 3 days on average.
Financial Difficulty Pilot One - Process
Mid-August to end-October 2014
Financial Difficulty Pilot Two – Financial Information
September to November 2014
Assess process and information pilot results
Share pilot results
Refine and finalise financial difficulty process