The Financial Ombudsman Service has appointed Money and Mental Health Policy Institute vice chair Richard Lloyd to lead an independent review into its complaints handling process.
The former Which? executive director has been charged with producing a report into FOS’ practices after a Channel 4 documentary earlier this year suggested a number of failures at the adjudicator.
These ranged from allegations that staff were insufficiently trained to deal with “complex” investment and pension complaints, that awards for distress and inconvenience were inconsistent, and that staff did not take complaints over issues such as payday loans and credit cards seriously.
The documentary also alleged that when an MP visited the FOS in 2015, her stay was rehearsed so as to cover over failings. MPs on the Treasury select committee wrote to the FOS calling for a review into the issues raised after viewing the documentary.
Setting out its terms of reference for the review, FOS has confirmed that the review will address the issues raised by Channel 4, but will not be limited to the concerns featured in the documentary.
As part of this, Lloyd will look at governance structures and whistleblowing procedures and will look to identify any possible root causes for concern such as staff objectives and the culture of the service.
FOS has also confirmed Lloyd “will be provided with full access and the resources necessary to complete the review” and will have “unrestricted access to all ombudsman service staff and all necessary documents”.
The review will be published in the summer after being completed by the end of June.