I have occasion to use the Financial Services Ombudsman and represent an individual in the Health, Legal Services, Water Services and Parliamentary Ombudsman Scehmes.

In all cases I found the processes to be incredibly slow

I found that the procedures were court like and this meant that it made it very difficult for a complainant to advancea complaint as it was difficult or impossible for a complaint to adduce the evidence necessary to bring a successful claim (defeating the purpose of avoiding going to court).particularly as the one complained of does not necessarily have to place its card on the table (as is the case for litigation)

The scope and terms of reference under which complaints can be made are narrow and narrowly interpreted so such schemes are very limited and highly skewed in favour of large organisations or bodies who have infringed the rights of the complainants.

Why is this idea important?

If you want people to feel they have a realistic oppotunity to resolve disputes without going it court the efficiency and accountability of such ombudsman schemes needs to be brought into question.

Can consumers really be expected to conduct near litigation like procedures with Ombudsman services? I think not.

Increase the remit and scope of Ombudman schemes to make them a credible deterrent to the industry they regualte.

Reduce the paperwork they insist claimants must adduce and ensure that organisations whoe complaints they oversee cooperate more fully.

GOind to the ombudsman shoudl, not onlyu be in the case of last resory as presently too many organsiations have three stage procuures – where a complaint with an organisation has not been resolved after two written communications you should be able to refer to an ombudsman and that organisation's failure to redress the problem shoudlb e taken into account in any judgement by th eombudsman.

Give them powers to make binding unlimited fines on industries whose disputes they oversee.

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