Happy New Year and welcome to the first edition of The FOS Circular for 2015.
I am very pleased to start the new year at FOS having eliminated the dispute backlog queues in case management across our General Resolution and Specialist Registration Groups as at 31 December 2014.
This is a major achievement and the result of the concerted efforts of staff across all our FOS teams working closely with both applicants and FSPs. We have done so while keeping a strong focus on quality. You can read more about the initiatives to improve our dispute process.
In the first half of 2015, we will focus on reducing the amount time we take to allocate current disputes to an Ombudsman where a determination is required. We will also implement improvements that we are making to our process for disputes we receive after 30 June 2015.
As of 1 January 2015, FOS has newly amended Terms of Reference (TOR) and Operational Guidelines. Some of the changes to our TOR have different effective dates. You can read more about the amendments in this edition of The FOS Circular.
We have also published two FOS Approach documents, which explain how we deal with terms of settlement and insurance claim delays. I trust you are finding the new format of our Approach documents, which we developed in conjunction with the Plain English Foundation, clearer and easier to understand.
Throughout 2015 FOS will continue hosting a range of forums, webinars, panel discussions and many other engagement opportunities for our stakeholders across Australia. I hope many of you will take the opportunity to attend one or more of these.
Our latest statistics report shows that we received 7,853 disputes between October and December 2014. This was a slight decrease (3%) from the previous quarter and a 6% increase from the same quarter last year. Also included in this edition of The FOS Circular is an update on unpaid FOS determinations and Systemic Issues update.
As we begin another busy and challenging year, I would like to reiterate our commitment to continuing to improve the independent and impartial dispute service we provide to the Australian community. I look forward to sharing more with you over the coming months, on what the changes we are making will mean for both applicants and FSPs.
If you have comments or suggestions about anything you read in The FOS Circular, we would be pleased to hear from you. Please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org