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FOS defends use of targets for caseworkers

The Financial Ombudsman Service has defended the use of targets for each of its caseworkers.

In responses to a Freedom of Information Act request published online, the adjudication body was asked to provide weekly or monthly targets over the last quarter for each area of case work.

In its response, FOS says that while it could not provide specific targets given to case handlers given these are worked out individually, they help the body meet its “organisational commitments”.

The FOS writes: “To help meet [our] organisational commitments, our case handlers are given an indication of the number of complaints they should aim to resolve on a quarterly basis. These are worked out individually with their managers and will be based on a number of different factors, such as their experience, working hours and the type of cases they’re working on.”

The requester asked FOS to provide which metrics were used by the board in their most recent meetings, but FOS notes that the board did not discuss individual targets or casework goals that were split by area of work.

The EU Directive on Alternative Dispute Resolution has applied to FOS since July 2015, and the organisation points to the data it publishes as part of those rules, which covers not only how many complaints it resolves, but also cases that were discontinued and rejected, broken down by type of case.


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There are 9 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. As soon as you apply time targets for case ‘handlers’ you increase the possibility of a wrong decision being made, in order to meet the target, which leaves others to deal with the consequences. Personally I would hate to be the victim of one of those decisions.

    The only rock solid target there should be is the number of cases you get right.

  2. So targets for “closures” for qualified advisers are bad but targets for “closures” for unqualified arbitrators are good.

    How does that work?

  3. This is a very useful revelation – might go some way to explaining some of the utterly bizarre judgements coming out of FOS lately – finding for a (CMC aided) complainant for something that happened 26 years ago, for example…
    Setting targets simply cannot be right; the risk of getting it wrong because its tricky or complicated is just too high

    • might go some way to explaining some of the utterly bizarre judgements coming out of FOS lately – finding for a (CMC aided) complainant for something that happened 26 years ago, for example…

      You may believe that there should be a long stop but what has that got to do with setting targets for adjudicators?

  4. If targets helps improve their timescales then a a good thing, provided that it does not involve giving additional bonuses for doing the job they are meant to be, or even worse, if it leads to rushed unfair decisions.
    A family member currently has a complaint of a Bank experience being reviewed. The full file as I assisted has been with them since January. In February we had a letter so say no progress and they were awaiting a response from Bank. No further communication has been made since February. On chasing them at the end of March they advised that the Bank had provided all information back in February but that they had a big backlog and shouldn’t be too much longer but didn’t want to quantify a timescale.
    Still no letter or communications so chased last week to be told that we should have had a letter but saying no further progress has been made and their caseworkers are very work heavy. As the issue with the Bank is still not resolved they are just dragging out the resolution further and causing further distress. When asked again for a timescale they said ‘it could be weeks or months I just don’t know and wouldn’t want to give false hope or upset the complainant further’.

  5. The FOS handlers refuse to request or are refused access to information from RBS/Natwest – to prevent any enquiry or investigation into Fraud or Breaches of FCA Rules and Principles. Employee Richard Nible a spokes person for Natwest confirms they do not need to supply information because the person and limited company is not a “Living Identifiable Individual ?” Building Society (BS) – merde !

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