To celebrate Rosie’s promotion to Lead Ombudsman of the Rail Ombudsman we sat down with her to find out more about her and her new role.
How long have you been with the Dispute Resolution Ombudsman (DROL)
I joined the then Furniture Ombudsman (TFO now FHIO) and the Dispute Resolution Ombudsman (DRO) in 2017 and in over 4 years I’ve seen both the company and my own career grow faster than I ever thought it could.
I joined the company on a part-time basis after having my second child. In that time, I’ve moved to Rail Ombudsman (RO) as a full-time Ombudsman and then was recently promoted to the Lead Ombudsman role.
Joining the Rail Ombudsman
When I joined the Ombudsman, I was trained to work on the cases for both DRO and TFO schemes before the opportunity came up to join the Rail Ombudsman. I knew this would be an exciting opportunity for me and would benefit my career, so I put myself forward and went through the interview process and moved over to Rail Ombudsman in November 2018.
Upon joining the Rail Ombudsman, we underwent two weeks of induction and an intense training programme that included attending a City and Guilds course on consumer law with specific rail law case studies, I gained a BTEC in Complaint Handling and I also achieved my CIARB professional qualification. Even though I felt slightly daunted at the start of the induction by the end we all felt ready to take on our first rail cases.
What do you enjoy most about being an Ombudsman?
For me, the most important thing about being an Ombudsman is providing that opportunity for third party intervention which might otherwise be unreachable for the consumer. I really enjoy mediating cases, talking to both sides, trying to bring them together and helping them agree to a solution. Also being able to offer a final decision if resolution is not possible, because this helps to provide closure.
I love that all cases are different and an opportunity to explore the relevant legal frameworks alongside managing the parties involved to get the best outcome as quickly as possible.
I learn more about the rail industry every day, which is fascinating, and as an ex-commuter I know the relevance it has in everyday lives, which I see in the complaints. I am pleased that my job can benefit both the industry and the thousands of people who use the rail network each day. It is very satisfying to see the rail companies and the industry put recommendations into practice and benefit from the continuous improvement that brings.
What’s your typical day?
I’m not sure there is a typical day at the Ombudsman!
But every Thursday starts with a team breakfast for those who want to start the day early. Everyone who attends, brings in a breakfast item and we sit down as a group. It’s a lovely way to start to the day.
The first thing I do at the start of every day is to check in with the rest of the Rail Ombudsman team on Teams if we’re not in the office. We see if anything urgent has come in over night and I can feedback any important information to the team from the senior managers, so we all stay aligned.
I then meet with the Triage team who assess each RO case that comes in to determine whether they are within the remit of the Ombudsman and therefore if we can investigate the case or not. We review all the new cases from overnight, they update us on their outstanding casework and answer any questions they have.
After a quick cup of tea, I review all my own cases, I read through any new communication submitted from the parties in dispute and start working through my cases keeping in mind any deadlines I have to work to.
On top of my case load I also make time to review and manage team performance, which can involve meetings with colleagues across the organisation. Additionally, I run reports and analyse the casework data to provide insights for meetings with members. I also track the actions taken against Rail Ombudsman recommendations.
For lunch, although we have an excellent staff area, I always try and go for a walk. The company has given us all access to a wellbeing app called Tic-Trac. It has a number of month-long challenges from walking to cycling and these are always highly competitive. These 40-minute walks mean I can add a couple extra thousand steps to my total!
After lunch I continue with my case work, catching up with any missed calls, emails and also writing adjudication decisions.
Next 5 years
I am very much looking forward to the next stage in my career with the Ombudsman and taking on more responsibility with training, both internally and externally.