Thursday, 11 July 2019
Department of Finance
Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman Staff
168. To ask the Minister for Finance the number of open roles in the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman by functional area and position; the length of time the role has remained unfilled in each case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30795/19]
Firstly, I must point out that the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman (FSPO) is independent in the performance of his statutory functions. I have no role in the day to day workings of the office or in the decisions which he takes.
The Office of the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman (FSPO) was established on 01 January 2018 to resolve complaints from consumers, including small businesses and other organisations, against financial service or pension providers. The establishment of the FSPO resulted from the merger of the Office of the Pensions Ombudsman and the Financial Services Ombudsman’s Bureau.
Under section 15(4) of the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman Act 2017 the Ombudsman may appoint staff to his office and determine their duties with the approval of the Minister for Finance and the consent of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.
The Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman (FSPO) commissioned a Workforce Plan 2019-2023 and submitted the Plan to my Department. This plan includes an analysis of the level of resources currently available to the FSPO against both current and predicted future demand for his services.It also addressed the large existing caseload which the Office inherited on 01 January 2018, along with the sustained pattern of increased demand which the office continues to experience.
Following consideration of the Plan I sanctioned an additional 35 staff for the Office as follows:-
|Assistant Principal||Higher Executive Officer||Executive Officer||Clerical Officer||Total|
|Additional Posts Sanctioned||5||11||15||4||35|
These additional resources will allow the FSPO to deliver a better faster service for its customers, keep pace with the speed of change, tackle existing waiting times, and deliver the objectives in its Strategic Plan 2018 – 2021.
Recruitment campaigns were advertised in May 2019, for the grades of Executive Officer and Higher Executive Officer, and the recruitment processes for these campaigns are currently ongoing. Priority is being given to the filling of vacancies at HEO and EO levels within the following functional areas:
- Dispute Resolution/Mediation
- Investigation/Adjudication/Legal Services
Once the outcome of the current recruitment processes is clear, additional recruitment will be undertaken in Q3 and Q4 2019, which will also include competitions at the grades of Assistant Principal and Clerical Officer.
On the issue more generally, in 2018 and to date in 2019 the Ombudsman has informed me that vacancies which arose have been filled, either through existing panels where possible or else through the establishment of new panels by way of additional recruitment campaigns.
I should add that the post of Deputy Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman is vacant since April 2019 and work is currently underway to arrange the filling of this post.