Financial Ombudsman Service  

Fos improves tech amid cutting case backlog by 59%

Fos improves tech amid cutting case backlog by 59%
 

The Financial Ombudsman Service has cut its unallocated backlog of cases by around 59 per cent, according to an update of its strategic performance in 2021/22.

The Fos said its front-end queue fell from around 90,000 to just over 37,000. In December, this was around 43,000.

It also reduced the total stock of cases from 164,529 to 112,000, which it said was the best performance in three years.

“When looking at the number of cases we resolved, although we were unable to close the 16,000 Amigo cases due to an ongoing legal process outside our control, this was compensated for by overperformance across all areas of casework,” the Fos said. 

“Taking the Amigo cases into account, we resolved 14,740 more cases than we set out in our plans.”

It resolved 218,740 cases against a target of 220,000.

Cost per case was slightly lower than targeted which Fos said was driven by both higher case resolutions and lower costs.

In the update, Fos also said it continued the roll-out of technology improvements and putting IT contracts in place to transform our customer interface.

“We implemented a new quality framework in July 2021, with quality checklists at three important milestones: case setup, investigation, and final decisions, each with their own targets – which have mainly been met or exceeded. 

“We also established a quality team, whose role it is to support the organisation in analysing the results from quality checks as well as identifying areas for improvement, in either technology, process or training.”

Targets missed

In the update, the Fos said while its people made a “strong and sustained effort over the year” to close all cases older than 18 months, it did not meet its target.

The Fos began the year with 47,551 cases which had been with it for 18 months or more and at the end of the year we had 9,081 cases older than 18 months. 

The Fos said it was unable to progress 8,918 of these cases due to issues outside of its control, including ongoing judicial reviews. 

By March 2021, this left 163 of these oldest cases to close, against its target of zero. 

“Our focus on our oldest cases meant the median time to resolve a case was 6.4 months, above the 4.2 target we set, and consumer satisfaction scores have decreased. 

“This was seen most significantly on non-upheld cases, where they dropped from 43 per cent to 36 per cent against a target of 45 per cent. 

“Scores from consumers whose cases were upheld have also decreased over time, but at much smaller percentage points, going from 90 per cent to 88 per cent against a target of 90 per cent.

The Fos said these improvements set “a solid platform” for the significant changes it plan to make as part of the action plan but there is “more work to do”, particularly in areas it did not reach targets.

Staffing

In February, the Fos admitted to having high attrition rates, putting it down to “throwing new people in at the deep end” as it looks to enhance its training programme.