Last week, the Fos pledged to go “further and faster” as it launched an action plan addressing the changes it will make to its operating model.
The action plan set out how the Fos will aim to improve its delivery for customers and provide help to resolve cases more quickly.
However, in a letter dated to yesterday (December 7), MP and chairman of the Treasury Committee Mel Stride wrote to Nausicaa Delfas, interim chief executive and chief ombudsman at the Fos, asking for further detail on how the Fos plans to get on top of the current backlog of cases.
The Fos started the financial year with a backlog of 90,000 complaints, but this has since halved to less than 50,000.
In previous testimony to the committee, Fos said it cost on average £960 to resolve a case compared to the £650 case fee, and as a result the committee has asked the Fos to outline how it will address its funding issues.
In the letter, Stride asked for details on what impact the plan would have on the backlog, whether the programme would cause short-term disruption to casework productivity and what steps the Fos would take to mitigate this risk.
Stride said: “The publication of a plan to improve the Financial Ombudsman Service is a positive step in the right direction. As a committee, we have expressed concerns in the past about the effectiveness of the Fos, particularly about the cost of resolving a complaint and the extent of their complaints backlog.
“These positive words need to be followed by action. That’s why I have today written to the Fos requesting further information on the changes anticipated.”
The committee also questioned which member of the executive team will be accountable, if there will be external advisers to assist, its use of intelligent automation and technology in case handling and whether or not the April 2022 commitments will be achievable.
Stride added: "We will be closely following whether the Fos’s ambition to develop a new strategy and operating model by April 2022 is realistic, and we look forward to having the Fos leadership in front of the committee early in the new year.”
The correspondence follows previous concerns raised by the committee in January 2021 on the effectiveness of the Fos.
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