General Ombudsman - Oversight Board
INDEPENDENT STANDARDS BOARD
The Independent Standards Board plays a vitally important role in ensuring that The Retail Ombudsman remains independent, impartial and fair. Its mandate is therefore to:
Make sure The Retail Ombudsman observes the criteria for ombudsman schemes at all times
Make sure The Retail Ombudsman observes its own terms or reference and rules at all times
Make sure The Retail Ombudsman maintains its independence and impartiality at all times, by reviewing and testing a selection of recommendations and determinations each month
The Independent Standards board is therefore completely independent from The Retail Ombudsman. The Board is governed by a set of rules and authorisations known as the “Standards Board Constitution”, a copy of which you can see by clicking on the image below.
STANDARDS BOARD CONSTITUTION
On the board of directors of The General Ombudsman1 (“the Company”) approved this constitution and irrevocably delegated the roles and responsibilities set out herein.
1. Board members
- 1.1 The chairman of the Standards Board (“the Board”) shall be until (“the Chairman Term”).
- 1.2 At the expiry of the Chairman Term the Board members, not including the
chairman, shall vote in favour of:
- a) the re-appointment of as chairman for a further three year term; or
- b) the appointment of a new chairman.
- 1.3 The Board shall consist of a minimum of four and a maximum of ten members.
- 1.4 No more than 20% of the total number of Board members shall be employed in the retail industry (“Industry Members”).
- 2.1 The Board shall convene at least once per calendar month.
- 2.2 Meetings shall require a quorum of at least 3 members (including the chairman), on the basis that at no time no more than 1/3 of those present are Industry Members.
3.1 Board members shall not be remunerated.
1 ProMediate (UK) Limited (t/a The General Ombudsman) 1
3.2 The Company shall cover all reasonable expenses of the Board members, including travel and subsistence in relation to Board meetings.
4. Chief Ombudsman
- 4.1 The Board shall have responsibility for appointing and monitoring the appointment of the chief ombudsman.
- 4.2 The chief ombudsman shall be appointed for five-year terms (where possible).
- 4.3 Nothing in this constitution shall prohibit the Board from re-appointing the chief ombudsman for further terms.
5. Annual Budget, Strategy & Report
- 5.1 The Board shall review and approve the annual budget (“Budget”) and
strategy (“Strategy”) of the Company.
- 5.2 The Board shall review and approve an annual report of the Company, compiled by the chief executive, which publishes a) the progress of TRO during the year b) complaint statistics and other noteworthy news and information which should be publicised to stakeholders (“Annual Report”)
6. Complaint reviews
- 6.1 The Board shall review a random cross section of complaints on a monthly basis (“Complaints Review”).
- 6.2 During the Complaints Review the Board shall review:
- 6.2.1 a selection of caseworker recommendations; and
- 6.2.2 a selection of Ombudsman determinations.
- 6.3 In carrying our the Complaints Review the Board shall consider:
- 6.3.1 whether the recommendations and determinations have been made on a fair, independent and impartial basis.
- 6.3.2 whether the recommendations and determinations have been made in accordance with the Terms of Reference, and Code of conduct.
- 6.3.3 whether the recommendations and determinations have been made in accordance with the principles of natural justice.
6.3.4 whether the recommendations and determinations have been based on sound judgement and have been justified adequately in writing.
7. Ombudsman Association
- 7.1 TGO has been validated by Ombudsman Association as an “Ombudsman” scheme and has been granted full membership. To maintain such validation TGO must continue to comply with the Ombudsman Association Criteria at all times, a copy of which is attached to this constitution (“the OA Criteria”).
- 7.2 The Board shall ensure that the Company and chief ombudsman observes and abides by the OA Criteria at all times.
- 7.3 In the event that the Company or chief ombudsman continually fails to observe the OA Criteria, the Board shall report such breach to the Ombudsman Association.
- 7.4 In the event of a breach of OA Criteria that cannot be rectified to the satisfaction of OA, the Board shall have the power to order the Company to cease to trade until such time as OA has re-validated.
8. Competent Authority
- 8.1 TRO is authorised by CTSI as an alternative dispute resolution scheme. To maintain such authorisation TRO must comply with CTSI’s set criteria at all times (“ADR Criteria”).
- 8.2 The Board shall ensure that the Company and chief ombudsman observes and abides by the ADR Criteria at all times.
- 8.3 The Board shall ensure that the Company and the Chief Ombudsman submits the following to TSI in accordance with the ADR Criteria:
- a) Annual activity report; and
- b) Two yearly activity report.
- 8.4 In the event that the Company or chief ombudsman continually fails to observe the ADR Criteria, the Board shall report such breach to the competent authority.
- 8.5 In the event of a breach of the ADR Criteria that cannot be rectified to the satisfaction of CTSI, the Board shall have the power to order the Company to cease to trade until such time as CTSI has reapproved the Company.
9. Other responsibilities
9.1 The Board shall ensure:
- 9.1.1 The Company, the chief ombudsman and all personnel observe and follow TRO Terms of Reference and Code of conduct at all times.
- 9.1.2 The Company monitors the observance of the Member rules by member retailers at all times and takes appropriate actions in relation to any breaches of the rules.
- 9.1.3 The Company, chief ombudsman and all personnel act on a fair and impartial basis in relation to all complaints.
- 9.1.4 The Company and chief executive follow the Budget and Strategy where possible
- 9.1.5 The Company and chief executive makes the Annual Report available to all stakeholders.
The Board has no powers to review the progress or outcome of individual complaints and cannot respond to individual parties about complaints.
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ProMediate is certified by CTSI to provide mediation services for consumer/business disputes in the UK. The charges that ProMediate is authorised to raise for each dispute dealt with are as follows:
Cost to businesses:
Value of Goods or Services
Up to £1,000 – £50 plus VAT
– £2,500 – £75 plus VAT
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– £7,500 – £125 plus VAT
– £10,000 – £150 plus VAT
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£2,500 – £25 plus VAT
£5,000 – £50 plus VAT
£7,500 – £75 plus VAT
£10,000 – £100 plus VAT
The above charges are based upon 1 hour of mediator time. Disputes above this value can exit the scheme and be dealt with by ProMediate’s general mediation service.
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Value of Goods or services:
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– £2,500 – £25 plus VAT
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