The Legal Services Consumer Panel (LSCP) has published its latest “Tracker Survey” of consumers who have used legal services in the last two years. This year they spoke to 3589 legal service users.
The survey reveals a decline in the availability of free services from 24% in 2012 to 11% in 2019, which was accompanied by a plunge in funding by legal aid, trade unions and employer payments over this period from 14% to 5%. The Panel have stated that the implications of this decline in funding remains a serious concern.
The survey also shows that, nearly three years after publication of the CMA Report, consumers are not yet enjoying the benefits of clearly published pricing information with information on quality particularly hard for consumers to find. These findings indicate that low numbers of consumers are shopping around (28%) although those who do so state that they have a wide range of providers to choose from, and report high levels of satisfaction with the legal service they receive and the outcome of their matter.
The survey also reveals that consumers’ use of online services has increased from 21% in 2012 to 33% in 2019 with overall consumer satisfaction with online services higher than with services delivered via telephone, which have decreased over the same period.
Key findings in the survey include:
- Not only is the proportion of consumers who shop around low at 28%, it is even lower in areas such as advice on criminal charges (10%) and advice and appeals about benefits or tax credits (17%);
- The proportion of consumers who say it is easy to make a price comparison plunged from 58% in 2018 to 38% in 2019.
- 62% of consumers find out the price through talking to the provider rather than from a website or other means.
- On information about services, only 40% of consumers recall seeing information about the staff, service and/or timings for delivery of services.
- 88% of consumers are satisfied with the outcome of their matter and 84% are satisfied with the legal service.
- Where things do go wrong there remain gaps in understanding about how to make a complaint or seek redress. The proportion of silent sufferers (those who are dissatisfied but don’t complain) is up to 37%, and 46% of legal consumers still do not know how to go about making a complaint.
The full Tracker Survey can be found HERE.
An infographic dealing with the findings can be found HERE.