Today (14 October 2021) is World Ombudsman Day. The theme for this year is “Exploring Options to Resolve Conflict Together”
There are many myths around an Ombudsman and other Alternative Dispute Resolution schemes. And it is not just consumers who get confused. This is partly due to the current system of oversight and monitoring.
For the last six years I have been researching and reporting on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). From explaining what it is all about through to investigating and reporting on oversight of approval and monitoring to breaking stories and interviews.
Ombudsmen are ADR providers but with higher standards.
Ombudsman v other types of ADR providers
In an exclusive interview with me, the former CEO of the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (responsible for approving and monitoring ADR providers), Leon Livermore, said that “There should be one standard across all schemes. This should be open to challenge and be consulted on. It happens to be in this case that the OA’s standards sit higher than the CTSI and so it should be that one which is the starting point.”
But let’s start at the beginning and for World Ombudsman’s Day I’ll bring together my research and work on ADR:
Ombuds Research lists all respected and recognised academic ombudsman related research. It lists works from 2009 – 2018.
Timeline for posts and articles on explanation, research, investigation and news on ADR and Ombudsmen
The ADR Directive was delayed in 2015 and the work uncovering failings in the whole sector started.
9 July 2015 The ADR Directive and Ombudsman Omnishambles explanation of the ADR Directive and the delay in implementing it.
07 August 2015 discussing the new ADR directive on You and Yours. The predicted issues that did indeed arise, not least the confusion for consumers.
17 August 2015 Alternative Dispute Resolution: What it all means – explanation of the different areas of ADR.
ADR and investigation into approval and oversight
26 June 2016 Ombudsman Omnishambles: New report exposes serious failings in ombudsman approval and oversight – Since 1 October 2015 a new privatised system of ombudsmen has been available for consumer complaints in areas such as retail and aviation. Consumers expect an ombudsman to be independent, open & transparent and to abide by the rules of its trade body. However the report by Marcus Williamson and myself shows otherwise.
20 October 2016 Ombudsman chaos continues – Even on Conflict Resolution Day – article outlining the lack of public knowledge and understanding of ADR and chaos in the sector as providers are not approved and monitored appropriately.
02 November 2016 Ongoing Ombudsman Omnishambles – failures in ADR – issues and what needs to be done about monitoring and approval of ADR providers.
The Retail Ombudsman had title removed
06 July 2017 The Retail Ombudsman is no more as title is lost – The private company, set up in 2015 to provide dispute resolution for consumers, lost the right to use the respected title of “Ombudsman”.
More failures in ADR
01 November 2017 Rail Ombudsman is finally coming down the tracks – consultation closing soon – given little to no media coverage the article outlines the importance of this new ombudsman.
28 February 2018 Government & regulators continue to fail consumers – Article about the follow up report “More Ombudsman Omnishambles – 20 months on“, to Ombudsman Omnishambles written by Marcus Williamson and myself report that exposed serious failings in the UK ADR system.
23 April 2018 Landing in court with Ryanair (what you need to know!) – the issues with CAA and ADR and Ryanair and legal action and how you could give your reasons for not using AviationADR prior to going to court.
05 August 2018 Got the Ryanair blues? This is how to claim compensation – my article for The Financial Times regarding claiming refunds from Ryanair and referring to the Which? article criticising AviationADR.
15 November 2018 Presentation on ADR at the Westminster Business Forum.
25 November 2018 5 Ombudsman myths busted – explaining common consumer (and sometimes those who work in the consumer space!) misconceptions.
30 January 2020 Ombudsman systems needs urgent shake-up says APPG – MoneySavingExpert.com (MSE) funded an APPG Inquiry and the report which builds on much research into the Alternative Dispute Resolution sector. It makes several recommendations previously called for by MSE, Citizens Advice Bureau and consumer campaigners Marcus Williamson of CEOemail.com and myself.
CAA and ADR failures
31 July 2020 Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) gets new Chairman – criticism of the decision to recruit a Chairman with no experience in customer-facing environments, no experience in the commercial aviation sector and no background in consumer law. This in the middle of a pandemic where consumers are being failed by airlines.
07 October 2020 International Ombuds Day – what does the Ombudsman do? – Explanation of an Ombudsman.
07 October 2020 CAA launches consultation and tells no-one… – I break the story that the CAA launches a consultation and doesn’t tell stakeholders.
22 October 2020 Ryanair tops the CAA refund complaints figures – FOI response shows how poor Ryanair is and how CAA and ADR is failing consumers.
16 December 2020 CMA steps in where the CAA fears to tread – describes how the CMA has stepped in to undertake the CAA’s work.
18 March 2021 Civil Aviation Authority consults on dispute resolution The consultation responses where consumer groups call for a single ombudsman in the sector. Criticism of the CAA and the whole process.
Ex CTSI CEO reveals opinions on ADR
18 June 2021 Leon Livermore former CTSI CEO talks to Helen Dewdney Part 2 – Leon Livermore was the CEO of the CTSI for almost 8 years, until March 2021. The CTSI was heavily criticised in the OO and MOO reports. In this part of the interview we spoke about ADR. He agreed that the Ombudsman Association’s standards were higher than CTSI, that there should be a fit and proper person test and agreed that ADR should be mandatory. See link for more and the Zoom interviews.
30 September 2021 ADR: A Government consultation – which provides ADR related details of the Government’s consumer paper for a consultation ending 1 October 2021 entitled Reforming Competition and Consumer Policy. ADR falls within the section of Consumer Law Enforcement.
30 September 2021 My responses to the Reforming Competition and Consumer Policy Consultation Download.
31 January 2022 Passenger treatment to be fairer under Government proposals Government launches consultation to changes to compensation, ADR and services for disabled passengers.
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