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financial ombudsman consults on budget and workload forecasts

14 January 2005

The Financial Ombudsman Service today published for consultation its budget proposals and workload forecasts for the next financial year (2005/06), together with an update on complaint numbers and trends for the current financial year (2004/05).

The figures show the significant impact on workload caused by mortgage endowment complaints - now two thirds of the ombudsman service's work. The ombudsman expects to receive 67,000 complaints about endowment complaints in the financial year ending March 2005 (compared with 51,917 in the last financial year (2003/04) and an original estimate (made in January 2004) of 35,000). Today's plan & budget forecasts that this number will rise again in 2005/06 to 70,000, before starting to fall in 2006/07.

The total number of complaints (including complaints about matters other than endowments) that the ombudsman service expects this current financial year (2004/05) is 108,000 (97,901 in 2003/04), rising to 115,000 next year (2005/06).

Average staff numbers are forecast at 860 in 2004/05 and 960 in 2005/06 (725 in 2003/04). The additional adjudicators and ombudsmen reflect the increasing number and complexity of disputes referred to the ombudsman service - and mean that total costs in 2005/06, at £53.1m, are forecast to be 15% higher than in 2004/05.

In the financial year 2005/06, it is proposed that 75% of funding will be raised through case fees, paid by firms whose customers bring complaints to the ombudsman service - and 25% of funding will be raised through the statutory levy paid by all firms covered by the ombudsman, according to their size and business.

Printed hard copies of the plan & budget document (now online) will be available shortly.

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