The Property Ombudsman has created a new deputy Ombudsman role and reorganised the way it reviews complaints in an effort to speed up procedure.
Jane Erskine has been promoted to deputy Ombudsman from her previous role as casework director. Erskine started her career as a solicitor in private practice before joining TPO in 2007 as a case officer, responsible for investigating complaints against agents.
In addition to her responsibilities with casework matters, Erskine will continue her work with the Ombudsman Association and industry groups as a guest speaker and industry expert on case reviews, quality and standards.
Property Ombudsman Katrine Sporle said: “The deputy Ombudsman will play a crucial part in the scheme’s future growth and development.
“Jane’s extensive experience and intimate knowledge of case law and the property sector has been a valued asset for many years and I look forward to working with her as we make improvements to enhance our service offering.
“This new role is one of several key changes that will enable us to deliver a more streamlined service that puts the consumer at the heart of the process.”
Under the new structure, TPO will now allocate each complaint to a multi-disciplinary case team consisting of adjudicators, dispute resolution advisers and case management officers. This means that every new case will be assigned to a dedicated team that will manage the entire process from start to finish.
The changes are underpinned by the installation of a new telephone system, and a new customer relationship management system.
There is also a new online system that allows agents and consumers to review live case updates, with additional functions for agents who will soon be able to renew their membership and update their contact systems at the click of a button.
As at the end of last March, over 14,639 sales offices and 13,672 letting offices were registered with TPO.
TPO estimates that these figures represent 95% of sales agents and 85% of lettings agents operating within the UK.