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The Business Banking Resolution Service (BBRS) publishes Post Implementation Review Part 2

9 January 2023

The Business Banking Resolution Service (BBRS) has today published the second part of its Post Implementation Review (PIR), an external, panel-conducted review into the operational effectiveness of the BBRS. You can read the PIR 2 report in full here.

The PIR reports were commissioned following a requirement from the Implementation Steering Group (ISG), which set up the BBRS, for the BBRS to undertake an external review of its service after launch.

The purpose of PIR 1, published to the BBRS website in February 2022, was to consider how well the establishment of the BBRS reflected the build requirements as set out in the UK Finance response to the Walker Report and in the ISG Terms of Reference. PIR 2 focusses on the operational effectiveness and impact of the BBRS, and whether it is delivering against the Scheme Rules and operational plans.

Key findings from the PIR 2 report include that the BBRS is doing what it was set up to do and that cases are assessed competently. The review team also found that the BBRS’ decisions on the eligibility of cases and financial awards are independent.

However, the report identifies that the original assumptions of case volumes were over-estimated and that the agreed remit of the BBRS and expectations of some SME representatives has caused frustration.

The review team also observed that the cost of running the scheme is significant given the number of cases and that the time taken for the customer journey is too long. The team concluded that there is an opportunity to improve significantly the process and experience of the customer journey.

There are ten recommendations in the PIR 2 report. The BBRS accepts the findings from the report in full and has started to action the recommendations that apply to the BBRS. The recommendations are:

  1. BBRS should prepare a paper on case volumes to confirm weaknesses in the original estimates and reset expectations on volumes of historical and contemporary cases and communicate this as a priority.
  2. BBRS should consult with the Banks and SME Liaison Panel on the future of the Contemporary Scheme in view of the low volume of case numbers. This should include consideration of the appropriate notice period to be given to potential customers prior to any change.
  3. With the data available to it, BBRS should consider which, if any, eligibility criteria should be amended to make the Contemporary Scheme more effective. Inflation alone since inception of an ADR scheme, would indicate that upper levels of turnover and asset value should be increased.
  4. BBRS should review the Customer Journeys to remove unnecessary steps, reduce overall timescales, reduce costs and achieve early decisions. This should include a review of the appeal process to simplify it and reduce timescales and resources required.
  5. BBRS should consider improving the transparency and effectiveness of its current approach to triaging cases and (where appropriate) advancing the use of conciliation and mediation over the investigative adjudication process.
  6. For historical cases relating to personal guarantors of dissolved companies that are too small for BBRS but eligible in every other respect and which otherwise do not have a forum to be heard, BBRS should consider putting them all forward as concessionary cases.
  7. BBRS should undertake more detailed analysis, and share the outcomes, of the time taken at various stages and by each party within the Customer Journeys, to ensure they are as efficient and effective as possible.
  8. The SME Liaison Panel is advised that it should focus on what might be possible within the remit of BBRS, with particular attention on the future of the Contemporary Scheme.
  9. BBRS should request that each bank provides data at regular intervals on all decision letters issued.
  10. BBRS should request that each bank provides regular feedback on the outcome of directly resolved cases taken back from BBRS.

Mark Grimshaw, CEO of the BBRS, said: “We are pleased that so many stakeholders took the opportunity to provide the review team with valuable feedback on the operational effectiveness of the BBRS. It is very encouraging to see that that Post Implementation Review 2 found that the BBRS is doing what it was set up to do, that our people are competent, and our approach is fully independent.

“The report also makes valuable recommendations for us to consider regarding improvements to the BBRS and specifically that the customer journey and the scope of the Contemporary Scheme should be further reviewed. We take these recommendations seriously and will be implementing them in full where they apply to the BBRS.”

About PIR 2

PIR 2 was undertaken by an external panel who reached their conclusions after conducting a range of interviews with BBRS staff, customers, bank and SME representatives.

The review team was chosen further to a rigorous procurement process based on their skills and experience. The BBRS reached out to over 75 organisations to invite them to tender for the opportunity. This included a range of institutions including independent experienced individual interviewers, academics, academic institutions and consultancies.

The winning bid was from Incopa, who provided a review team led by John Harkin, who has performed over 350 independent government reviews to date. He was joined by Dr Chris Gill, a senior lecturer in public law at the University of Glasgow and an expert on ombudsman schemes, access to justice, and the design of dispute systems. They were joined by two additional team members who participated in PIR 1 and provided additional strengths to the review team.