Our 2018 annual report is now published and available to download via our website.
2018 was a year of great transformation for Ombudsman Services with our transition to a new content management system, the launch of our new brand and consumer website and the appointment of our Chief Ombudsman and Chief Executive Matthew Vickers. These developments have enabled us to offer an enhanced service to our customers, adding value and ensuring that our operation continues to develop in line with customer needs and demands.
Our annual reports afford us the chance to reflect on key highlights from the previous year and address challenges and opportunities we face now and in the future. From 2018, our financial statements are included within the Annual Report.
A main report, plus sector reports for energy and communications, are available to view along with a summary from the Independent Assessor.
In 2018, eight energy suppliers entered administration or ceased to trade. In the run up to a supplier going out of business, we tend to see an increase in complaints with reduced customer satisfaction. Plus, we put a lot of work into ensuring the Supplier of Last Resort (SoLR) process is as smooth as it can be for affected consumers. This involves extra costs for our business and, in 2018, we absorbed £1.3m in bad debt.
We’ve made good progress towards recovering from the financial deficit we found ourselves in at the end of 2018, with operational and structural changes implemented to create a lower-cost, lower-overhead business.
We’re also encouraged by the partnership work we’ve been involved in as part of a Tripartite Group with Ofgem and Citizens Advice, ensuring a consistent and collaborative approach to regulation, redress and advice across the energy sector. Reducing consumer detriment and creating better outcomes for consumers is a key driver.
Work to address new financial challenges, including how we price and fund our service in the future, is a priority for 2019 and beyond. As we look to the future, our key focuses will centre around: quality, with a ‘Back to Basics’ approach; modifications and enhancements to our case management system; an increased focus on relationships with our business partners and within the wider industry; structure and engagement, with further organisational changes to reflect transformational plans; and reporting, with data at the heart of our strategy to provide actionable insights to our business partners and other industry stakeholders.
Click here to view our 2018 annual reports.