Everyone knows that the role of the ombudsman service is to resolve individual disputes - fairly and impartially. But people who know us will know that another crucial role we have is to share the insight we get from those disputes, helping businesses prevent future problems by learning from previous situations where things have gone wrong.
ombudsman news is, itself, a great way of doing this. Our thematic summaries of cases we've seen - and the decisions we've made - are regularly commented on by consumer groups and businesses alike as giving clarity and insight into the approach a reasonable business should take to resolving certain issues.
This isn't, however, the only way we give feedback. Our ombudsmen give talks on a range of topics, up and down the country. We work with consumer groups, businesses and the media to make sure that our feedback is widely heard.
And we have a dedicated helpline - our technical advice desk - answering 20,000 queries a year from businesses and consumer advisers who want to better understand our approach, so that they can resolve complaints more effectively themselves.
In this issue of ombudsman news, we're doing more - we're sharing the hands-on frontline insight of our case handling staff who work on resolving cases every day. Handling complaints across the entire financial services sector, they see where things go wrong, and the best and worst ways of handling disputes. I do hope that the feedback is useful.
After all, it's in all of our interests to learn from what goes wrong - so that we can prevent future problems and build more trust and consumer confidence in financial services.
chief executive and chief ombudsman
ombudsman news gives general information on the position at the date of publication. It is not a definitive statement of the law, our approach or our procedure.
The illustrative case studies are based broadly on real-life cases, but are not precedents. Individual cases are decided on their own facts.