Ombudsman Services governance
The documents below describe the role of Ombudsman Services. They include information about what we can and cannot do and our powers; they also define some of the terms we use.
Terms of reference
- Terms of reference - post October 2015
- Terms of reference - pre October 2015
- Terms of reference - Consumer Ombudsman Annex
- Terms of reference - Communications Sector Annex
- Terms of reference - Copyright Sector Annex
- Terms of reference - Energy Sector Annex
- Terms of reference - Green Deal Sector
- Terms of reference - Home Improvement Sector
- Terms of reference - Property Sector Annex
- Articles of association
- The independence of Ombudsman Services
- Membership rules for participating companies
- The EU Directive on Consumer ADR - FAQs
- Memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Ombudsman Services and RICS
Sector liaison panels
Sector liaison panels are advisory groups we have set up to help identify emerging trends and issues in the energy, communications and property industries. These panels have no say on how Ombudsman Services is run or on the decisions that Ombudsman Services makes.
- Terms of reference - sector liaison panels
- Terms of reference - property sector liaison panel
- Terms of reference - consumer liaison panel
We have Investors in People status and regularly refresh training for our employees. Our front-line officers provide advice to consumers such as:
- informing them of the correct company procedure when this has not been followed;
- identifying if Ombudsman Services can become involved; and
- signposting to other organisations who can help.
Our relationship manager works with companies to discuss the complaints we handle from their customers, to provide feedback and support improvement. Our ombudsman team provides expertise in handling complaints from each sector.
The Independent Assessor
Joanna Wallace and James Dipple-Johnstone are the Independent Assessors (IAs). They are appointed by the board to investigate any complaint about the level of service provided by Ombudsman Services, as long as the organisation itself has had an opportunity to respond to the complaint. The role of the independent assessors is to investigate complaints by terms of reference which are given by the board. Those who have a service complaint are signposted to the independent assessors by the Deputy Chief Executive, who investigates complaints at an earlier stage. The independent assessors do not consider Ombudsman Services's decisions – these are final. The role is not a mechanism for appealing or overturning Ombudsman Services's decisions; it does not make judgements about accepting a complaint for investigation; or judge the weight of evidence or the amount of redress recommended. The IAs work independently of Ombudsman Services, report to the board but are not based at the organisation. The IAs do, however, have access to complainant’s case files. The IA’s decision letters are sent directly to the person who has complained. Each year the independent assessor publishes a report into the service complaints that have been concluded.