The Financial Ombudsman Service is planning to take on 1,000 new staff to deal with the record number of complaints it expects to receive in the next financial year.

The independent complaints arbitrator is expecting 385,000 new cases – of which 245,000 are expected to be about payment protection insurance (PPI) – in the year from April.

It's also planning to recruit more ombudsmen to deal with more complex cases.

The Ombudsman took on 264,375 new cases in the 2011/12 financial year, which are the most recent figures it has on record.

Its consumer helpline dealt with 1.3 million enquiries in the same year - but it expects to see that figure rise to 2.2 million in 2013/14.

£7.5 million bill so far

Between January 2011 and October 2012, more than £7.5 billion has been paid out in redress for mis-sold PPI across the financial services industry. The total PPI bill is expected to be significantly higher.

To pay for the increased workload, the Ombudsman is planning to change the way financial firms are charged when complaints are made about them, which will see companies who receive the most complaints contribute more.

It has just launched a consultation about its plans to expand.

Tony Boorman, deputy chief ombudsman, says: "Two years after the court ruling confirmed the approach that financial businesses should take when handling PPI complaints, it's disappointing that we’re still seeing significant numbers of unresolved disputes about mis-sold policies being referred to the Ombudsman.

"Our proposals ensure we have the resource to tackle these record case volumes and the businesses responsible for generating the biggest workload contribute the most to sorting it out."

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