The Financial Ombudsman Service has commissioned a structural review of the organisation in an attempt to gauge its effectiveness as a complaint-handling body.
The review will be undertaken by leading academic Elaine Kempson starting next month and finishing in July.
Kempson will be assessing how the organisation can build on what the ombudsman sees as a relatively small scale of resources at its disposal to provide a feasible service.
She will also be required to review the ombudsman's ability to deal with external pressures such as “aggressive interest groups”. However, it is not in her remit to examine the relationship between the FOS and the FSA.
The Bristol University professor was also recently commissioned by the British Ban-kers' Association to consult the banking industry and recommend changes for new banking codes which take effect March 2005.
FOS head of communications David Cresswell says the review is aimed at understanding how the organisation can cope with the “huge volume of complaints it has to deal with on a week to week basis”.
Cresswell says: “Most people have very little knowledge about how an ombudsman works. We believe this review will provide us with greater clarity and an understanding of the processes which will help us to grow more effectively in the future.”