Ombudsman Services publishes annual report and reveals increasing demand for services
Chief Ombudsman Lewis Shand Smith says Ombudsman Services is fit and ready to embrace the challenges of an exciting future in a changing consumer redress landscape.
Published on 16 July 2013, the Ombudsman Services’ annual report for 2012/13 reveals that over 19,000 complaints were resolved last year, more than ever before. The report also shows that over 120,000 new contacts, 490 each working day, were received from consumers needing help with a complaint. Despite the increased demand for services the introduction of a series of major change programmes has helped Ombudsman Services remain responsive to consumer needs. Mr Shand Smith says, “We have streamlined processes, introducing new ways of working and investing in leading-edge technology to speed up the time it takes to resolve consumer complaints. There’s more work coming through, but 90% of complaints are resolved within six weeks.”
During the year Ombudsman Services:
- Resolved 8,768 energy complaints, 10,331 communications complaints, 589 property complaints and five copyright licensing complaints.
- Implemented a new case management system to improve the customers’ journey from raising a complaint to resolution.Introduced verbal acceptance and early resolution - a new, faster way to resolve disputes.
- Won the bid to become the ombudsman and investigation service for the Green Deal.
- Expanded the service provided collective management organisations in the copyright sector.
Speaking at an event at the House of Lords to launch the report, Mr Shand Smith welcomes the strong focus on consumer rights policy being driven by European Union legislation and the UK consumer rights bill.
“This is an exciting and invigorating time in consumer affairs: awareness of consumer rights is high, and both the UK government and the EU want to strengthen consumer redress. Our model of dispute resolution, which is independent, free to the consumer, and at low cost to the industry, is in demand.
“What matters most is delivering our services fairly, ensuring that redress is available where it is justified. We seek continuous improvement in the services we deliver and we offer a modern dispute resolution model that is easy to access, timely, cost-effective and high quality. Increased coverage of alternative dispute resolution will give confidence to consumers and bring tangible benefits to companies selling to a European market. Ombudsman Services has ten years experience and now covers a variety of sectors. We are ideally placed to expand our remit and provide dispute resolution for transactions across a much wider consumer landscape.”
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Notes to editors
- The Ombudsman Services annual report can be accessed here:http://www.ombudsmanservices.org/downloads/OS%20Annual%20Report%202013.pdf
- Ombudsman Services is a not for profit, private company limited by guarantee.
- Ombudsman Services runs national, private sector ombudsman schemes which provides independent dispute resolution for the communications, energy, property, copyright licensing sectors, the Green Deal, the ABFA and CAPITA Tenancy deposit protection schemes.
- In 2012 Ombudsman Services won the bid to provide the Ombudsman and investigation service for the government’s Green Deal initiative.
- Ombudsman Services is a full member of the Ombudsman Association (OA) and adheres to its principles.
- The Chief Ombudsman’s speech about the future of Ombudsman Services in a changing consumer redress landscape can be accessed here: http://www.ombudsman-services.org/downloads/Annual%20report%202012-13%20speech.pdf
- Ombudsman Services provides an expert dispute resolution service. The services focuses on encouraging early agreed resolution wherever possible and does not charge a fee so it’s able to offer access to redress for consumers to resolve their complaints without proceeding to the civil courts.
Further information about Ombudsman Services can be found at www.ombudsman-services.org
For further information, please contact the press office:
Tel: 01925 431 029
Out of hours: 07808 789 548
DATE: 16 July 2013