About us

The Legal Ombudsman for England and Wales was set up by the Office for Legal Complaints (our Board) under the Legal Services Act 2007.

We are independent and impartial. This means that when we receive complaints, we will look at the facts in each case and weigh-up both sides of the story. We are not consumer champions or part of the legal profession, and we are also independent of government. Our service is paid for by legal and claims management companies and is free to consumers to use.

Our scheme rules

Our scheme rules are approved by the Legal Services Board and the Lord Chancellor as required by the Legal Services Act 2007.

The rules set out the framework for how the Legal Ombudsman resolves complaints about legal services.

Scheme rules (pdf – opens in new window)

You can also view our short video ‘Here to help’ which helps explains our rules.

We consulted on the scheme rules in 2009 and 2012. You can see the consultation drafts and responses in our publications section.

Here to help video

Customer Service Principles and Standards

The Legal Ombudsman is committed to delivering high quality customer services in a timely, flexible manner that meets individual needs, situations and expectations.

Our Service Principles and Standards are a reflection of our core values of being Open, Fair, Independent and Effective. Our Standards apply to all and show how we respect and respond to each other internally and externally with our customers and stakeholders.

The Service Principle and Standards sets out what this commitment means in practice and what our customers can expect from us.

VALUE: Open

We will always be clear with you

Our Service standards

  • We will communicate using plain English so you can make appropriate, informed choices.
  • We will discuss with you at the beginning what you can expect from the service we provide.
  • We will explain the complaints process and keep you updated about what is happening throughout.

You can expect us to:

Communicate in a way that can be understood, avoiding using jargon, providing clear and relevant information.

Listen carefully and ask questions to understand your complaint.

Be professional and knowledgeable.

Make sure everyone is clear about our process at every stage of the complaint.

VALUE: Open

We will be understanding and approachable

Our Service standards

  • We will recognise each individual’s perspectives and experiences.
  • We will take your individual needs into account.
  • We will offer support in a variety of ways such as BrowseAloud, large print and languages other than English to help you access our service.

You can expect us to:

Be polite and treat you with respect.

Listen to you and take your views seriously.

Be empathetic and sensitive to your needs and support them.

Make reasonable adjustments for people who require them.

VALUE: Effective

We will make good use of everyone’s time

Our Service standards

  • We will deal with your complaint efficiently and keep you informed about progress.
  • We will help both parties resolve the complaint at the earliest opportunity.
  • We understand that some complaints can be complicated, we will be honest about what we can deliver.

You can expect us to:

Ensure we understand your needs and deal with your complaint promptly.

Keep you informed at all times throughout your involvement with us as to what to expect and when to expect it.

Let you know as soon as possible if we are unable to help you.

VALUE: Fair and Independent

We will be impartial, thorough and base our work on facts

Our Service standards

  • We will be clear about what information we need from you.
  • We will listen to what you have to say and consider relevant information provided by both parties before any final decision is reached.
  • We will reach our decision based on information and what is balanced, fair and reasonable.
  • We will provide a clear explanation of our decision.

You can expect us to:

Ensure we are objective, non-judgemental and fair throughout the investigation.

Help you identify what information is needed, and be clear what can be used.

Be consistent in our approach.

Communicate our decisions clearly and concisely.

VALUE: Effective

We will make a difference

Our Service standards

  • We will be an independent voice and use our experience to inform debate within the legal, claims management and ombudsman sectors.
  • We will help improve the complaint practices of service providers.
  • We will identify the main causes of complaints and feed best practice information back to service providers.
  • We will publish ombudsman decisions on our website, which will include information that is accurate, easy to find and understandable

You can expect us to:

Listen to, consider and learn from feedback we receive.

Engage with service providers to provide support based on our learning.

Provide information and learning to service providers by delivering external course.

Our board

Our board is officially called the Office for Legal Complaints (OLC). The Legal Services Act 2007 created the OLC and made it responsible for setting up the Legal Ombudsman, creating its scheme rules and overseeing its performance. The Board ensures that they and the Legal Ombudsman promote the regulatory objectives set out in the Act, which are:

  • protecting and promoting the public interest;
  • supporting the constitutional principle of law;
  • improving access to justice;
  • protecting and promoting the interests of consumers;
  • promoting competition in the provision of services;
  • encouraging an independent, strong, diverse and effective legal profession;
  • increasing public understanding of citizens’ legal rights and duties; and
  • promoting and maintaining adherence to professional principles.

The Board has seven members, including Wanda Goldwag, the chair. You can find out more about them all below. The Board meets regularly and has created two committees to help it fulfil its role. The first is the Audit and Risk Committee, which is responsible for overseeing our risk management processes, governance and financial control framework. The second is the Remuneration and Nomination Committee, which is responsible for overseeing, among other things, the terms of employment of our staff.

You can read the minutes of the OLC and its committees below.

Board documents

Our staff who handle complaints

All of our staff are directly employed by us on either permanent or fixed-term contracts and we ensure that they have the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and support to resolve complaints fairly, objectively and independently.

Our ombudsmen make final decisions in the cases that our investigators have not been able to resolve informally. All our ombudsmen are appointed in accordance with the requirements of the Legal Services Act 2007.

Our investigators focus on bringing parties to a complaint to an informal resolution as quickly as possible. They are required to have experience of customer service and complaints handling as well as negotiation and investigation skills,

Our assessors act as the first point of contact for members of the public. They need to have experience in providing information and advice directly to the public as well as recording information using IT.

Management team

Our management team is responsible for the strategic leadership and management of the Legal Ombudsman. They are accountable to our Board – the Office for Legal Complaints.

Our performance - KPIs 2016-17

Key performance indicators are quantifiable measures and targets that we use to demonstrate how effectively we are working, which ensure we are providing a high quality service to all our customers.

We publish our key performance indicators (KPI) on a quarterly and yearly basis. The five areas that our performance will be measured against are:

  • Timeliness
  • Quality
  • Cost
  • Reputation
  • Impact
VIEW ALL OUR DATA

 

Our tenders

Procurement
The Legal Ombudsman spends around £4.3 million per annum on supplies and services. The Legal Ombudsman’s priority is to secure the best value for money across the organisation. In all our dealings with suppliers and potential suppliers, we aim to maintain the highest standards of honesty, integrity and impartiality, reflecting our core values of being open, independent, fair, effective and shrewd.

Contract opportunities
Tender opportunities with a potential value in excess of £20,000 are posted on this page. In addition, all tenders with a value over £10,000 are advertised on the Business Link procurement portal as well as on other public sector procurement portals, such as Buying Solutions.

Terms and conditions
Please read our terms and conditions document (pdf opens in a new window) before submitting any tender documents. Our terms and conditions will be attached to documentation we send during the initial process.

Contact
Please send all enquiries regarding procurement by e-mail to procurement@legalombudsman.org.uk

Current tenders