INFO Network

ombudsman principles

striving for best practice through fundamental principles

Effective approaches to fundamental principles
(September 2014)



1.1 This is part one of a seven-part guide agreed by INFO Network members in 2014
Parts two to seven describe:

• six fundamental principles to which INFO Network members should comply with

• effective approaches that help to meet those fundamental principles.


This guide has been developed by INFO Network from work undertaken by INFO Network member representatives, David Thomas and Francis Frizon, for the World Bank, published in January 2012.
available here]




1.2 Because INFO Network members may be constrained by their structures and resources, which are often outside their own control, this guide does not set compulsory standards.


1.3 But INFO Network expects its members to comply with the fundamental principles in the guide and observe the effective approaches, so far as it is within their control, and it aims to help them do so.


1.4 This guide is intended to assist INFO Network members, including by helping them to persuade those who control their structures and resources.


Fundamental principles


1.5 After studying worldwide standards relevant to ombudsman schemes, the members of INFO Network agreed the following fundamental principles:

independence, to secure impartiality

clarity of scope and powers




transparency and accountability.


Effective approaches


1.6 Financial services ombudsman schemes operate in many different countries and sectors. They need to take account of relevant cultural, legal and economic circumstances.


1.7 The approaches to implementing the fundamental principles described in this guide are ones that have worked in some countries, but there may be other ways.




1.8 In this guide:

• ‘financial services ombudsman scheme’ includes any body that fulfils the same role

• ‘ombudsman’ includes any individual with the final say on resolving a complaint

• ‘decision panel’ means any collegiate body with the final say on resolving a complaint

• ‘decision panel chair’ means the chair of any decision panel

• ‘decision-maker’ means any ombudsman or any chair/member of a decision panel

• ‘complainant’ means a complainant eligible under the financial services ombudsman scheme’s rules

• ‘customer’ means a customer eligible under the financial services ombudsman scheme’s rules.






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