Kathryn Stone OBE, Chief Legal Ombudsman for England and Wales
Some of you may have heard that the Legal Ombudsman’s Chief Executive Nick Hawkins is sadly leaving us in September, when he will have spent nearly two years at the helm.
Nick decided at the beginning of the year that he was ready to take on new challenges and opportunities and informed the board of the Office of Legal Complaints (OLC) of this back in March.
His plan was to step down once he had been involved with a smooth transition for the new OLC Chair Wanda Goldwag (you can read our Q&A session with Wanda in this edition).
I have known Nick for several years when we were both at the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) together. Although a qualified barrister with 15 years experience in the Crown Prosecution Service, Nick joined LeO from the IPCC in October 2015, where he was Chief Operating Officer.
Despite our obvious differences - Navy, CPS vs Third Sector and Social Work, Nick and I both share a deep commitment to public service. Our common values of promoting the best possible public service and always acting in the public interest have been touchstones.
It has been a very real privilege to work with Nick and I think he is likely to be more, not less busy, as he leaves LeO.
He was given a clear objective from the OLC Board to put LeO onto a firm footing and he played an integral part in restoring the confidence of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and Legal Services Board (LSB) in us.
He’s also overseen improvements in IT provision at LeO and has helped tighten up governance and financial controls along with leading a change in attitudes to recruitment, ensuring that the organisations always looks for internal talent first.
After spending a few months with Nick, OLC Chair Wanda Goldwag also had time to appreciate his efforts and described Nick as a great asset and stabilising influence to the Legal Ombudsman who she held in high regard. Wanda added: “I personally am very sad that I will not be working with Nick for longer, but I am grateful that he stayed long enough to make my arrival as Chair so smooth.”
Advertisements have gone out to find Nick’s successor as his final day will be on 30 September and we will be sure to update you on his replacement in the next Leo News.