Ombudsman Services’ Susan Fox explains why it is an exciting time to be working in consumer affairs

My Day

6.45am: Wake up to the BBC Radio 4 Today programme. 

7.30am: Check tweets over breakfast to see what’s going on. A kindly colleague texts to warn me about traffic jams near the office.

7.45am: Drive from Stockport to Warrington. Luckily most of the traffic is heading in the other direction. Flick between Radio 4 and XFM. Discover that a song I like seems to be about drowning a woman, so I go off it pretty quickly.


8.45am: In the office. Ombudsman Services is based in a beautiful Victorian brewery, a red brick labyrinth of arched windows and towers. Catch up with my team members about their weekends.


9.00am: Check my emails (lots of parliamentary and media monitoring to go through), my tasks for the day and diary for the week. Glad to see Ombudsman Services got name checks in the Sunday papers as the energy ombudsman.


10.00am: Monday morning meeting with the team about the week ahead. I’m always impressed with how much work this small team gets done. This week, there are meetings with participating companies to help them handle complaints better; a training session with Ofcom, who approve our telecommunications ombudsman scheme; an update on a ministerial statement for our news release about copyright complaints; the latest developments in the Consumer Rights Bill, and companies joining us from the property sector and Green Deal. I update the chief exec.


10.30am: Quick chat with the project manager on our new case handling system – it’s very exciting. It will make it much easier to publish our data, which is in great demand.


11.00am: Prepare for a marketing workshop we’re running next week and discuss marketing not-for-profit organisations with a non-executive director. Accept offer of loan of books gratefully.


1.00pm: Race to the supermarket for a sandwich.


1.30pm: Prepare induction for a new starter.


2.00pm: One to ones with team members this afternoon. Our communications manager shows me a great storyboard for our 10th anniversary video. We discuss our annual report launch at the House of Lords and agree expenditure to improve the accessibility of our website.


3.00pm: Discuss priorities with our policy manager, including details of the EU Alternative Dispute Resolution directive. It’s an exciting time to be working in consumer affairs: awareness of consumer rights is high, and both the UK government and the EU want to strengthen consumer redress. Our model of dispute resolution, which is independent, free to the consumer, and costs the public purse nothing, is in demand.


4.00pm: Back to my desk to catch up on emails and phone calls. Get a chance to analyse some figures for last financial year and add them to the slides for our marketing workshop.


6.00pm: Off home. Looking forward to hearing all about my daughter’s new job as a web presenter. 


Susan Fox is director of policy and communications at Ombudsman Services

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