Financial Ombudsman Service  

Fos chief says case backlog has halved

Fos chief says case backlog has halved
Nausicaa Delfas, interim chief executive and chief ombudsman at the Fos

The Financial Ombudsman Service's interim boss has said its backlog of cases has halved since the beginning of the financial year.

Speaking to FTAdviser today (December 2), Nausicaa Delfas, interim chief executive and chief ombudsman at the Fos said the organisation was resolving cases as fast as possible as well as upgrading its technology to improve matters further.

Delfas said: “At the moment we’re very focused on getting through our cases quickly, with almost half the backlog of cases that we had at the beginning of the financial year. 

“So, whilst we're developing all our technology and digital offering, we are also moving as fast as we can with the current system.”

Earlier today, the Fos published an action plan setting out how it will aim to improve its delivery for customers and provide help to resolve cases more efficiently.

As part of the action plan, the Fos said it would also use "intelligent automation" to speed up the process, for example by using technology to convert digitally submitted complaints directly into case files.

Delfas said: “The point from the technology side is that we are looking to become more digitally accessible. At the moment, consumers and businesses contact us by telephone or by email. 

“We'd like to introduce a digital portal which will allow customers and businesses to upload their documents to communicate and to basically be another choice that our customers have to engage with.”

She explained that the 'intelligence automation' would look to automate some of the processes within the ombudsman service so it could operate more smoothly and quickly but she was unsure whether technology would be rolled out to help decide cases.

“With deciding cases, we have a broad range of cases and it's really important that we weigh up the evidence carefully and make a decision, so we'll see where the intelligent automation goes,” she said.

In October, the Fos said it began the last financial year with 28,000 cases waiting to be investigated and the additional demand over the pandemic meant it ended the year with more customers waiting an “unacceptably long time”. 

It also emerged the Fos was offering staff “voluntary overtime” to tackle its cases backlog.

sonia.rach@ft.com

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