To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions he has had with the Financial Services Ombudsman about reducing waiting times in both allocating and investigating cases.
30 June 2022
The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) is an independent non-governmental body. The Treasury is not involved in the day-to-day operations of the FOS and the remit of the FOS is set out by the Financial Conduct Authority. The rules on how the FOS should handle complaints state that ‘The ombudsman will attempt to resolve complaints at the earliest possible stage. Inevitably some cases will be more complex than others and therefore take more time to resolve, however the FOS should deal with all cases in a timely manner.
Nevertheless, the Government agrees that it is vitally important that the FOS should be accountable for its performance and the quality of its work. The FOS answers to a board of directors, appointed by the Financial Conduct Authority, and must make a report each year on the discharge of its functions which is required to be laid before Parliament. This ensures Parliament is able to scrutinise the efficiency, effectiveness and economy with which the FOS carries out its functions. There are also regular meetings between Treasury officials and the FOS where relevant emerging issues are discussed.