Shortly after Channel 4 aired the Dispatches documentary claiming to bring to light numerous issues with the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), FOS has announced it is to be ‘independently reviewed.’
The documentary suggested that employees at the Ombudsman were not sufficiently trained to deal with the complex cases they were handling, and that as a result of this, complainants lost out.
A reporter who went undercover carried out secret filming of interviews with employees of FOS, who admitted that they were not fully ‘competent’ for their roles. One employee stated they had to google products, whilst another claimed that often, the customers are more clued up about the product than the investigators. Staff also stated they were put under pressure due to ‘tough’ targets.
MP Nicky Morgan, Chair of the Treasury Select Committee, wrote to the Ombudsman stating that the investigation should not be limited to the issues that were highlighted within the documentary. She suggested that flexibility should be used, enabling ‘root causes’ of any failings to be identified.
She also stated that the review “conclude whether any failings can be attributed to management action or inaction, cultural factors, staff objectives and performance management, organisational structure, or any other underlying factors.”