The Office for Legal Complaints (OLC) has published its Annual Report and Accounts for 2019/20.
It reveals that although the Legal Ombudsman (LeO) has worked hard to provide better standards of service for both consumers and legal service providers that nevertheless the time it took for people’s investigations to begin was too long. This resulted in people having to wait longer than they should for an answer from the LeO.
The OLC acknowledges that the business year finished in the most extraordinary way due to the coronavirus pandemic but that despite this the LeO was able to smoothly transfer to home working, keeping its contact centre open throughout. The pandemic meant that the OLC Board decided to request a standstill budget for the year 2020/21 rather than the planned for budget increase.
New Chair, Elisabeth Davies said
Since joining the OLC in April 2020 my focus has been on ensuring that I and the Board fully understand the issues facing the organisation that have, and continue to prevent the Legal Ombudsman from making further improvements. As the long-term impact of coronavirus becomes clearer LeO will need to consider how effectively its processes and systems meet the continuing demand for its service, along with ensuring it has good and valued people, to deliver the quality of service that is necessary.
Chief Ombudsman Rebecca Marsh, who announced last month that she was stepping down as Chief Ombudsman to take up a new role, said
while it is clear that the overall performance of the Legal Ombudsman has not yet reached the levels we are seeking I am confident that the work completed to date provides strong foundations for future development.