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Remember the ombudsman

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Earlier this year we were in Glasgow where we once again had a stand at The Gathering - the invaluable annual event organised by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO). It was there I met Nicola McBain from the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) and attended its informative workshop.

If you read Nicola's blog last August, you'll know OSCR had heard many concerns from Scottish charities about problems they'd had with their banks. And you may also know that Nicola and her colleagues have done a lot more work to help address the issues since.

So what's that got to do with the ombudsman?

Did you know the charity you work for may be able to turn to the Financial Ombudsman Service, free of charge, if there are problems with your bank that you can't resolve yourself?

We were set up by Parliament to help resolve disputes between financial services businesses and their customers. If you can't reach an agreement, we may be able to step in. Being completely independent and impartial, we'll listen carefully to both sides, look at all the facts and then decide what's fair. If a bank hasn't treated your charity fairly, we can instruct it with what to do to put matters right.

What's the best way for charities to approach the ombudsman?

Well, firstly, your organisation has to be eligible to the use the ombudsman service. Most people who come to us are private individuals but we can also look at complaints from registered charities whose annual income is below £1 million.

If you're having a problem that isn't being resolved - complain. It's much better if the business can resolve matters for you itself and they must take complaints seriously. But if that doesn't happen, get in touch with us and we'll take it from there.

And don't forget, we're here for the people your charity helps too.