Financial Ombudsman Service Reviews | Glassdoor.co.uk

Financial Ombudsman Service Reviews

Updated 12 May 2018
397 reviews

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Caroline Wayman
248 Ratings

397 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • m sure the senior management team are decent people once you (in 73 reviews)

  • And they'll be expected to take a drop in pay after two years if they want to be part of the organisation's new way of working (in 18 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (13)

    "I love working here."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Investigator in London, England
    Current Employee - Investigator in London, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Financial Ombudsman Service full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    This company has the best people, great opportunities for personal development, and in my own experience, brilliant support from managers. Couldn't really ask for much more.

    Cons

    Yes, there are some changes going on, as there are in every company. I've worked for other firms that treat their staff terribly. I feel this company treats their staff pretty well.
    Yes, maybe the recent changes could have been rolled out better. But at the end of the day they had to be rolled out.

    Advice to Management

    I think the management are starting to listen to staff a bit better. But at the end of the day - they've got to do what they've got to do. This is a business.
    People will only write on Glassdoor if they're not satisfied. So I'd urge others who work here to share their feedback, whether they're happy or not.


  2. Helpful (36)

    "No one seems to know what they're doing."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Adjudicator in London, England
    Former Employee - Adjudicator in London, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Financial Ombudsman Service full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great people to work with and flexible working.

    Cons

    The constant change in policies is difficult to keep up with. There is no consistency between teams regarding the approach to case work so what is the "done thing" in one team will get you downgraded in another. During one year I was there I had four different managers and I think that this constant upheaval, including the hot-desking system which often means that if you're not in early you end up having to sit away form your team on a different floor, only serves to ensure that people don't feel settled in their jobs. Are these all just tactics to push people out of work on their own accord so that they don't have to pay out redundancy packages?

    Advice to Management

    As Richard Branson said "Employees come first. If you take care of the employees, they will take care of the clients."

  3. Helpful (42)

    "Another example where 'folks' have been trampled on."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Investigator in London, England
    Current Employee - Investigator in London, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Financial Ombudsman Service part-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The people and cafe. Thank you.

    Cons

    Anyone remember that nice cuddly liberal Obama talking about US torture camps in Cuba? He said 'some folks were tortured and that's wrong'

    Like Obama and most US Presidents and UK PMs, FOS pays lip service to liberal values and diversity at home while promoting conflict and chaos in the world around them.

    FOS is the mirror image of the same lying and hypocrisy. Last week they were roundly defeated in the Employment Tribunal by someone smart enough to see through it.

    Well done that person - you've probably made life a lot easier for others who didn't sign up to mass claims.

    Advice to Management

    Resign?

    Caroline will be gone this year. Another analogy with the US political system - lame duck CEO? But let's see if she can succeed in completely wrecking the place before she leaves!


  4. Helpful (3)

    "Decent organisation doing good work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Investigations Manager in London, England
    Former Employee - Investigations Manager in London, England
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Financial Ombudsman Service full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Decent people, good hours and benefits

    Cons

    Executive has put so much money into paying PwC to come up with a new model for the way FOS works that it's unwilling to accept the new model is, in some ways, fundamentally flawed and needs further development and changes.

    Salary isn't particularly amazing

    Progression is less about being well-rounded and more about ticking boxes

    Advice to Management

    Accept that the news ways of working aren't flawless and work on making a model that works for everyone


  5. Helpful (45)

    "The investigation model has positives but it isn’t sustainable"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Investigator in London, England
    Current Employee - Investigator in London, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Financial Ombudsman Service full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Nice people and offices, good benefits and overall the pay isn’t bad for what is essentially a customer service adviser.

    Cons

    I don’t want to come across as some bitter person who should just leave the organisation. I love what we do and actually, the new world has some very good aspects. But unfortunately, I’ve experienced first hand (as an investigator) that the flaws with the new system are too big to simply ignore.

    Knowledge: the answer is in the room. It’s true that someone out there can help you. But what I think was overlooked was that it’s not sustainable for you to not be able to do many cases without asking for help. You should be able to deal with problems because you know how to. Not because someone told you the answer and you don’t know enough to question it. What’s even more insulting is that virtual teams were created to deal with the more complex areas of casework. But there’s no training. I’m part of one and I do what I can dealing with products I’ve no idea about. They go to ombudsman and it gets looked at properly. It’s a great way to ruin staff morale.

    Quality vs quantity: without sounding too big headed, I think I have adjusted well to my role and I’m very good at both quality and quantity. But it isn’t sustainable. I’m exhausted. And I’ve seen a lot of colleagues reaching that point too. Once they were positive about difficult cases and the challenges that brings. But now with a focus back on closures through overtime incentives, people just want easy cases. If you’re bringing a complex case or take up too much of an investigator’s time, any old view will do and let’s get it to an ombudsman as soon as we can. Then it isn’t my problem. That is the reality. How do you really expect someone to look at five pension or investment cases per week and close them over the phone?

    Ombudsman managers: it’s a sad fact that I would no longer feel confident in bringing my own personal complaint to the ombudsman service. Not because people are horrible here, but because I’ve seen that even ombudsmen are getting things wrong. And would I really want my case looked at by one of them? No. I would pray it goes to a “real” ombudsman who actually knows the product area. I’m not trying to be negative it’s just the reality. I’ve seen it myself. Ombudsman managers think the answer is fair (but you can’t decide that without knowing what to base it on) and so try their best to close cases over the phone. Much better as they can’t get juridically reviewed that way.

    Incoming post and phone shifts: we had a few months of overtime because the incoming post was so high. Maybe this is because everyone is already busy enough and you got rid of the department who deal with post? Also phone shifts, they’re scheduled in but you end up doing further shifts through POD cover because there aren’t enough people to answer the phones. If only we had some kind of customer contact division to help with the overspill of calls. Crazy idea.

    Advice to Management

    The changes went too far. It made sense to have the investigation model but you should have kept product areas so your staff feel confident in doing the job. Carry out another survey in 2018 - things have got better but that doesn’t mean much compared to how they were.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Supportive with great benefits"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Financial Ombudsman Service part-time

    Pros

    Great benefits - especially maternity package.

    Cons

    Office politics - promotion isn't based on work but on who you know.


  7. Helpful (54)

    "The ship has run aground and needs some serious repair work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Multiple Roles
    Former Employee - Multiple Roles
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Financial Ombudsman Service full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Benefits are decent (although pay is lower than market rate to compensate).
    Most of the staff are good people trying to make a difference and help others.
    Good place to start learning about things - technical skills, soft skills or just what it's like in the world of work.
    Very cushy place to end your career as you drift to retirement.

    Cons

    I won't go into a big FOS-bashing exercise as others have done here. No it's not quite as bad as some people have made out. But there is a toxic work environment that the leadership seem unable or unwilling to change.

    These are some of the fundamental problems as I see them:

    1) Too many people in mid-management and leadership are more concerned with their own personal fiefdom than they are with the overall success of the organisation. Mainly because they have climbed the ladder by making themselves important, they are too busy to deal with all the issues but don't want to delegate because then they will be less important. This creates massive bottlenecks and stops people being able to do an effective job.

    2) Engagement and communication with lower level staff is terrible. Things get leaked out and the rumour mill takes over so that when things are eventually shared, there is already bad feeling.

    3) Progression is not based on merit - some jobs are created for specific people without being advertised. The level of support you get from managers varies wildly.

    4) Leadership talks a good game but doesn't back it up with actions. Saying the right things about fairness and transparency etc. all sounds great, but when you look at decision that have been made and the actions that leadership has taken, you can see that they don't walk the walk.

    5) FOS is so focused on short term gains that is doesn't see the long term picture.

    6) Lessons aren't learned from previous projects, whether good or bad, which leads to the same mistakes again and again.

    7) Whether or not the move to the new investigation model was correct is irrelevant, the process was terrible. They decided to have a trial with a very specific group of supporting factors, then before the trial had finished and the results of it been analysed, they started rolling out the new way of working. That's not a trial. If the decision had already been made, don't pretend that it hasn't. Be honest with staff and share the vision with them, get them on board first, and then implement change.

    8) Leadership never admits any mistakes, even when something is so obviously a U-turn, it will be pitched as a minor tweak to something that's just working fine. It's OK to be wrong, just admit that and we can all move forwards like adults.

    What does this mean for you as a potential new joiner?
    If you just focus on your own job, one task at a time, and you don't really care about the bigger picture, then it will affect you very little.
    But if you care about the place you work, how it's perceived in the outside world and whether the service being provided is fit for purpose, then these things will annoy and frustrate you.

    Advice to Management

    There have been lots of people using this website to vent, because you haven't let them have a voice internally. That needs to change if you want the organisation to start functioning properly again.

    The Board are completely to blame here for allowing an inexperienced group of old buddies take over the executive level of FOS. Anyone with external experience who might have known what they were talking about was forced out by that group leaving an echo chamber of the same opinions supported by middle management that had been dragged up behind them.

    Start to communicate with staff better, they aren't the enemy and you need to have them onside to lead change effectively. You might even find that the people doing the main job have some valuable input that the PWC "experts" couldn't grasp during their short time trying to work it out.

    You need to recognise that the only value the FOS has to the outside world is experience and knowledge, that is what you are "selling" to your customers. Focus on that and try to avoid another situation where hundreds of combined years worth of experience walks out of the door, leaving a huge knowledge gap.
    Invest significantly in either people development & retention, or knowledge systems. If you cant compete and keep hold of people once you've trained them up, accept this and focus on recording and sharing the organisational knowledge better.

  8. Helpful (29)

    "Lovely colleagues but poor management and senior management"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Adjudicator in London, England
    Former Employee - Adjudicator in London, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Financial Ombudsman Service full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Excellent benefits (gym, subsidised canteen, dental care, child care vouchers etc)
    Flexible hours
    Good location
    Potential bonuses dependent of yearly review grade
    Good sick pay and maternity benefits

    Cons

    Lack of transparency
    Lack of opportunities outside of your role
    Favouritism
    Lack of progression
    Poor management structure
    Stagnant work, becomes repetitive and boring

    Advice to Management

    A complete restructure of the whole organisation is required. Your staff are extremely unhappy and dissatisfied


  9. Helpful (17)

    "A comment based in reality.......a great place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Financial Ombudsman Service full-time

    Pros

    There are many.....as most people on here have mentioned...great benefits, pension, working hours flexibility and gym. In addition there are many different networks to assist people in their own development - professional or otherwise. There are Christian, Islam, Jewish and other religious networks. As well as networks for mental wellness, women, disability, LQBTQ, parenting and many more, There are even professionals that visit the building you can pay to visit.

    And now to the actual job....I genuinely believe there is a fantastic career to be had. The work is challenging and varied. As well as meaningful and important. And there are a great many staff at the service that care about each other, the community around them - as well as their customers. Both consumers and businesses.

    The service does care about getting the right answer, and providing the answer is clear and understandable way. There is a training period when you start, a large amount of people who mentor others in terms of different products, and courses both inside and out of work for continued professional development. There are a number of entries on here that suggest only the numbers are important to the service. It's simply not true. Quality checks are very regularly carried out on cases, both by management and a particular department that has a focus on it. Sure, there may be occasions when further development is needed. But, this is the same in every company. My experience has been really positive - and I've worked for the service, in for many years.

    In terms of numbers - yes, there are targets around numbers. These numbers are driven by a funding model which means a large amount of revenue is provided when a case is solved. But, this is payable whether a case is upheld or not, And, I don't know a single manager, or investigator that would rather rush a case out and get the incorrect answer - like some people on here have mentioned. Again, like any business there may be some individuals that act that way. But those people are dealt with by performance management and the relevant HR processes. It's a real shame some of my colleagues think so little of their peers that work at the service.

    Dispatches did provide some embarrassing and unacceptable comments. And those should be dealt with swiftly. But the programme wasn't a fair reflection of the staff as a whole - and the clips were probably taken out of context. The programme really lacked credibility - half the commentary was even wrong, with a totally incorrect understanding of what the service actually does. Even the title of the programme was incorrect in what we do.

    People have to remember they come to work to work. There are directives which highlight complaints have to be given an answer quickly. And our customers deserve to have that service - as opposed to waiting for what was sometimes years under the old way we worked.

    I did work at the service, and in the relevant area for a number of years before the changes were brought in. And don't get me wrong, I loved the job then. There were, are still are, great people, with fantastic knowledge that decided not to go with the changes. I have great respect for them. But for whatever reason, you've made the personal choice not to go with the changes. Have equal respect for your peers who also needed to make the decision to as to whether to make the changes or not. They're also great and intelligent people.

    But there were many people who had been at the service and long time, and weren't correctly managed. There were people who were slow in completing their work, got the wrong answer, and that weren't really managed. That shouldn't happen in any company, and the same goes for a not-for-profit organisation such as ours. So, I think these colleagues did need a reality check.

    The organisation has been going through a large scale change - this includes operationally, new IT systems too etc. And the change has been horrendously managed. But, the senior management are now listening, and starting to make changes, and I'm really looking forward to seeing what the future brings.

    Cons

    As said above - I do think the change programme has been very badly managed. I feel issues that were very foreseeable weren't adequately considered. And when staff mentioned their concerns these weren't listened to. I find this very surprising given there were a large amount of trials completed before the change went ahead - and it appears lessons from this weren't learned.

    When I first began to work within investigations I found the situation very stressful. And I think that did have an impact on a number of people's health. But, I don't think that was actually the role - more the execution of the change.

    The exec etc are always re-active, rather than pro-active, and there are a countless amount of times where a little more thought would have lead to much more success.

    The senior management are listening now - and I think have been doing well with taking things on board.

    Advice to Management

    I do think there are two things you have got very wrong. And I think I speak for a lot of others when I say this. We used to have a fabulous department of brilliant communicators, who would take incoming calls, and ensure cases got to the stage where they could be investigated. This department was got rid of, and people actually investigating the cases now do this role too. It is too much. And daft to have staff trained for different, and complex skills to also be completing this role. It puts pressure on them and is a whole job in itself. Bring them back!!!

    Divide casework into proper departments - specialising in a broad range of topics. Then allow those areas to deal with all types of cases in that sector. It makes more sense, people can be multi skilled, and efficient because of the deep knowledge they'll have and the confidence to develop.


  10. Helpful (6)

    "Got lost along the way"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Adjudicator in London, England
    Former Employee - Adjudicator in London, England
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Financial Ombudsman Service full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great benefits and a great starting place to learn about financial services

    Cons

    Management did not have a clear direction or use staff to the best of their abilities


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