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ombudsman news

issue 21

October 2002

about this issue

new format for ombudsman news

Walter Merricks - chief ombudsman - explains

This month marks an important development for ombudsman news. Until now, each issue has concentrated on just one area of our activity - dealing in turn with banking, investment or insurance complaints. And initially, a number of the financial firms that form the bulk of our readership subscribed just to the banking, investment or insurance editions (colour-coded blue, pink and green, respectively).

But we have noticed a steady increase in the number of firms wanting to read about all three areas of our complaints work. And of course there has always been a demand for information about all our complaints work from the consumer advisers in citizens advice bureaux and other agencies who form another important sector of our readership.

So from now on - each edition of ombudsman news will contain a mix of items from all three subject areas - including the case studies that so many of you tell us you find particularly valuable. We believe this integrated approach offers a number of benefits.

Not least of these is improved flexibility. We will - for example - be able to give prompt coverage to any significant developments affecting complaints about a particular area of financial services. Previously we would have had to wait up to three months until the next edition that dealt with the industry sector concerned.

The new format also reflects some recent organisational changes here at the ombudsman service. As the final stage in creating a "multi-disciplinary" complaints-resolution service, the three separate casework divisions (banking, investment and insurance) that were built around the structure of the old schemes have now evolved into fully integrated units. These units comprise specialist teams, together handling complaints across all the financial services sectors.

We have been greatly encouraged by the amount of positive and constructive feedback we have received since ombudsman news began nearly two years ago. Please do continue to let us have your views and suggestions. Your contributions to the new feature on the back page of every issue - ask ombudsman news - will be particularly welcome.

Walter Merricks, chief ombudsman

ombudsman news gives general information on the position at the date of publication. It is not a definitive statement of the law, our approach or our procedure.

The illustrative case studies are based broadly on real-life cases, but are not precedents. Individual cases are decided on their own facts.