Sir David Foskett has been appointed to chair the independent Re-Review Panel (also known as the Foskett Panel) to reassess the direct and consequential (‘D & C’) losses suffered by victims of the fraud committed at the ‘HBOS Impaired Assets unit based at Reading and Bishopsgate (‘IAR’)’. Sir David is joined on the independent Panel by Philippa Hill and Andrew Hildebrand.
The work of the Panel arises from the conclusions of Sir Ross Cranston’s report, known as ‘The Cranston Review’, published in December 2019. The Cranston Review concluded that the way Lloyds Bank had dealt with D & C claims in its original Customer Review was unsatisfactory and did not achieve the purpose of delivering fair and reasonable offers of compensation. He recommended that the process of assessing direct and consequential losses should be carried out again, but this time in a fair and proper manner. In a second report, published in April 2020, he suggested how the reassessment exercise might be carried out.
The Panel has completed its work on part of its Scope and Methodology Statement which can be found here, and has published guidance notes entitled ‘IAR Fraud and the Causation of Loss’ and ‘Quantifying D & C losses’.
In the last few weeks the Panel have issued their first minded-to decisions. The first cases have enabled us to appreciate more fully the practical realities of the process and we are hopeful that these early experiences will enable us to improve the rate at which we are able to progress through cases as we move forward. We do need to emphasise, however, that some of the cases we have been considering so far have been particularly complex and have taken considerable time and effort to deal with. Not all cases may be so complex, but not knowing until we get to a case makes predicting a timetable extremely difficult.
Our expectation is to begin work on some of the cases in the second priority group later this month. In my last update, I suggested that the third group of cases would begin around April/May 2021. It is now our view that the third group is more likely to commence in July, but that will also depend on the challenges we receive to our minded-to decisions and how long it takes to respond to these.
We are in regular contact with individual customers and the stakeholder groups about the progression of the Re-Review and know that there are concerns that the process is not moving forward quickly enough. We are fully aware of this and, please be assured, we are as anxious as anyone to move the Re-Review forward as quickly as possible.
However, we very much remain of the view, as was the view of Sir Ross Cranston, that proper closure can only come from Customers knowing that their cases have been independently, rigorously examined and assessed, which in order to be carried out properly takes time. We have already had expressions of gratitude from some Customers for our approach in this regard.
We have already taken on some extra resources within our teams to help us to be well-prepared when we get to your case. However, as I said in our update in December last year “since the three of us on the Panel have the responsibility for making the decisions, the major constraint on our progress is the time it takes us to pursue, digest, examine and analyse all the information, documentary and otherwise, we receive during the process.”
As you will be aware, we have a prioritisation strategy in place which aims to ensure that those with the most urgent needs have their cases reviewed earlier in the process.
As things stand, there are in the region of 175 individual Customers whose cases we have to consider. Approximately one-third of that number have asked to be prioritised applying the grounds we identified in my update in September last year. Whilst we endeavour to get to priority cases as soon as possible, we simply cannot start assessing the case of everyone who has requested prioritisation as soon as they (and indeed we) perhaps might wish. I would also mention that when an individual’s personal circumstances change such that they need to be urgently prioritised, that invariably involves moving someone else further down in the queue – this is a difficult and sometimes impossible decision for the Panel, and it is also one of the main reasons why we have been forced to push back our time table somewhat.
We do ask that, if your personal circumstances do change, you contact us so that we can update our records accordingly. However, we cannot guarantee that we can change the order in which cases are to be considered as this could disrupt the process and create delays, inefficiencies and disappointment for other Customers.
The Panel wish to remain open and available to Customers and address concerns and queries that may arise. Indeed, we recognise that at this stage, with the Re-Review fully underway, it is natural that you may have questions about the process that you would like the Panel to answer. We are receiving a significant volume of communications which at times can detract from our primary task of considering customers’ cases.
Therefore, in order to help answer some of your questions, it is our intention to produce a further video for the Foskett Panel website, aimed particularly at those Customers who have not yet been contacted about their own case. We will also update the Frequently Asked Questions on the website and will point Customers to this when individual queries arise so that others may also see our responses. We would like to invite you to submit any questions that you have about the overall process to us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org by no later than Monday 8th March. These questions will then be answered by the Panel in a video message or in the FAQs.
We hope this update helps give a clearer picture of where we are at in the process and we look forward to receiving your questions. Your continued patience is greatly appreciated.
Sir David Foskett
Chair of the Re-review Panel
If you have any questions or comments in the meantime, please contact email@example.com.