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News in Brief

Photo of Rob Powell, new CEO at LeO

Rob Powell has become the Legal Ombudsman’s new Chief Executive after a year as Director of Corporate Services at the organisation.

The qualified accountant has replaced Nick Hawkins, who left at the end of September.

Rob, who joined LeO from Ofwat where he was Delivery Director and Director of Finance, said his priority will be to further modernise the Legal Ombudsman.

“It’s a great privilege to be succeeding Nick and build on the foundations he has laid,” said Rob. “Like Nick, I am really passionate about the organisation and developing our people.

“I want to build a modern, flexible organisation that is a great place to work and maximises its impact on the sectors we work with.”


Chief Legal Ombudsman Kathryn Stone OBE is leaving the Legal Ombudsman at the end of the year to take on an important role in Parliament.

Kathryn has been appointed as Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, which has a five year term and is expected to start in January 2018.
Photo from Training session

Professional Learning Courses for lawyers

LeO is launching a brand new course for lawyers: Remedies and learning from complaints.  The course will be in Birmingham on 22 November.  We will be discussing common complaints that we see and how these could be prevented.  In addition to this, we will look at some of the contemporary issues that lawyers face when handling complaints and working through case studies. The course will also focus on the importance of complaints and what can be learnt from analysing the root cause of these. We will consider first tier complaints processes and remedies, including the role that an apology can play.

If you would like to register your interest or reserve a place please email courses@legalombudsman.org.uk.  The introductory offer for a place is £50+VAT and places will be reserved on a first come-first served basis.  We will update our website shortly with full details in the coming weeks.  If you would like to keep an eye out, please visit: http://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/raising-standards/#professional-learning-courses or visit our Facebook and Twitter page @Legal_Ombudsman.


The Office for Legal Complaints (OLC) - the board for the Legal Ombudsman - has welcomed a Tailored Review that noted its significant progress and encouraged efforts to increase feedback to frontline regulators.

The Tailored Review of the Legal Services Board and Office for Legal Complaints was conducted by the Ministry of Justice’s ALB Governance Division and highlighted that the OLC should continue as a statutory body and has good leadership that is embedding a culture of continuous improvement.

Improvement initiatives recognised by the review team included boosting awareness of LeO among consumers and stakeholders and the Modernising LeO programme, which aims to improve performance and customer service by embedding the right culture, skills, technology, and ways of working across the independent organisation. See our article on Modernising LeO for more detail on this programme.

One of the Review’s recommendations is that the OLC should increase its feedback to frontline regulators, representative bodies and the Legal Services Board.


Photo of Wanda Goldwag, Chair of the OLC

Wanda Goldwag - Chair of the Office of Legal Complaints - has been named in a top 100 list of the most influential lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) public figures.

The 62-year-old was praised in the Pride Power List 2017 for her career and also spending a lifetime furthering the rights of the LGBT community.

She is a renowned expert on regulation, human resources and entrepreneurial businesses. Ms Goldwag spent five years as Civil Service Commissioner from 2012, and in 2016, became a lay member of the Queen’s Counsel Selection Panel.

The Pride Power List showcases the achievements of influential LGBT+ people who have influenced positive change for the community and also included TV presenter Graham Norton and co-founder of UK Black Pride, Phyll Opoku-Gyimah.

Wanda Goldwag said: “It is an honour to be named in such a prestigious line-up and to be selected for influencing positive change for people in the LGBT+ community. My latest work overseeing the Legal Ombudsman includes developing an inclusive service for everyone.”


LeO’s online presence secured the organisation a place in the Top 100 UK Law Blogs and Websites Every Lawyer in the UK Must Follow, which appeared on Feedspot website in August. LeO was number 24 on the list. It was based on the quality of posts, social media influence and presence, Google search rankings and an expert review by Feedspot’s editorial team. Legal Week got the top spot. You can follow LeO on Twitter @Legal_Ombudsman or find us on Facebook and LinkedIn under Legal Ombudsman.


Staff at the Legal Ombudsman raised nearly £3,000 to support homeless people in Birmingham as figures showed numbers of rough sleepers had increased.

Birmingham’s Sifa Fireside was LeO’s charity of the year during the 2016-17 year with cash raised through events including a spelling bee competition, Blockbusters challenge and bake sales.

Around 250 LeO staff also got involved by donating clothes and volunteering with the charity that helps vulnerable and homeless people. Sifa Fireside said the money would be put to good use as figures released by the Department for Communities and Local Government showed numbers of rough sleepers in Birmingham had increased by 53 per cent last year alone.

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