The Legal Ombudsman’s strategy and business plan sets out an ambitious vision to modernise the organisation with the Modernising LeO programme. Director of Operations Simon Tunnicliffe explains this transformation project in more detail:
“We have made great strides already with Modernising LeO and we’d like to share those with you - but first of all, it's worth setting out what we are trying to achieve.
We are continuing to embed our customer service principles into everything we do, but to do this, we need to enable our people to do the best possible job for those who interact with us.
The goal is to have a more efficient, streamlined business process supported by a flexible staffing model, modern IT and a positive, high quality workforce. With this in mind, we are focusing on two areas - enhancing our business processes, and developing a modern, unified IT environment.
So far, we have made great progress in designing a new, integrated business process which eliminates many of the handoffs and removes duplication within the current system, and provides a more seamless experience for complainants and service providers.
We have also largely completed a move to a new staffing model in which everyone will be able to work with much more flexibility and able to undertake a number of roles in order to meet business need. This is leading to a different structure within our ombudsman team and an increased number of ombudsmen.
We now have a pool of investigators handling low complexity cases and a larger ombudsman team investigating the cases that are more complex. It all helps to improve the process of looking at cases more effectively and efficiently.
For service providers, you will notice that you will receive preliminary decisions from investigators and ombudsmen, and final decisions from ombudsmen, as is the current process. This means that you could receive correspondence from ombudsmen with different information about various types of cases.
We have increased the focus on our workforce and the ways they work with a new workstream looking to build the capability of our staff and organisation. We are building on one of Nick Hawkins' main legacies, which is a renewed focus on developing our own people. So, the programme is focusing strongly on learning and development, succession planning and better career development opportunities for our people.
All of these changes are at the heart of our giving consumers an excellent service. The transformation is part of allowing cases to be handled more smoothly and reducing duplication.
When it comes to IT, we completed a major transition to our new Cloud-based IT infrastructure in June, which moves us into a modern environment. This provides the foundation for the new case management system we are developing which will support the new business process.
Looking forward, we aim to move over to the new process and case management system in the early part of 2018. That requires us to replace our aged telephony with a modern Skype for Business system, which is well underway, and complete development and testing of the Case Management System.
This is an exciting and busy time for the Legal Ombudsman. The changes will really help us develop our service and the organisation – but we also plan to boost the way we feedback to the profession and use latest technology as part of that. Watch this space for more webinars, training and videos that can be shared further afield to reach more legal and claims management company professionals.