The Office for Legal Complaints (OLC) has today published its Annual Report and Accounts 2015-16. The OLC is the Board responsible for oversight of the Legal Ombudsman.
The Report shows that the Legal Ombudsman continues to play a key role in ensuring that people can use legal services with confidence, knowing that there’s a safety net in place should things go wrong.
In the last financial year, the scheme investigated and resolved 6,416 legal complaints. Residential conveyancing, family, personal injury, wills and probate, and litigation were the most complained about areas of law.
In the first full year of operating its claims management jurisdiction the scheme investigated and resolved 1,740 complaints about claims management companies. The majority of these were about claims relating to financial products and services, such as mis-sold payment protection insurance.
The Legal Ombudsman’s overall budget for legal services, excluding its claims management jurisdiction, has reduced for the fifth year running, down from £12.2m to £11.6m. This reflects ongoing efficiency improvements across the business, which ultimately lower the cost of regulation and any subsequent burden on the people using legal services.
As expected, due to legacy issues in which the authorisation of expenditures were deemed, in retrospect, to be ‘novel and contentious’, the Accounts have been qualified. This should be the final time that the scheme’s Accounts are qualified for this reason.
Chair of the OLC Board, Steve Green, said: “The last business year has been the most important for the OLC Board since its original set up. The Board and the Ombudsman’s senior management team have had to work hard to rectify the issues that led to this and the previous Annual Report and Accounts being qualified by the National Audit Office. I’m pleased to be able to say these issues now belong firmly in the past.
“As the Report shows, the Legal Ombudsman has been placed under new leadership and the performance framework of the service has been significantly re-worked. I’m confident that the scheme has a bright future as a result.”
He added: “In the face of its many challenges, the Legal Ombudsman has continued to deliver quality resolutions to complaints. This could not have been achieved without the hard work and dedication of all of the Legal Ombudsman’s employees.”