On 1 November 2017, MoneySavingExpert (MSE) published a report into the ability of “ombud schemes” to fulfil their purpose. They concluded that ombud schemes are perceived as biased by many users, that compliance with ombuds’ processes and decisions is poor, and that a tightening of regulations around the use of the title ‘ombudsman’, alongside a strengthening of powers available to them, are necessary.
Now a blog by Nial Vivian of the UK Administrative Justice Institute, attempts to place the report by MSE within the existing scope of research conducted on ombud schemes and consumer ADR and assess what it adds to the wider discourse.
His conclusions include the following:
What might protect the authority of an ombud, engender greater public confidence in decisions made through a layer of assurance, and guard against any concerns against bureaucratic manipulation of users’ expectations of justice, is an arena where substantive decisions could be reviewed in specific cases, and the results published, with remedial action taken where necessary.
If only ! It’s the inability to independently review or appeal decisions which causes so much concern for ombud scheme users.