Blog by Elisabeth Davies, Chair of the OLC

Blog: OLC 2022/23 Annual Report and Accounts

Since I became Chair of the Office for Legal Complaints (OLC) in April 2020 – at the start of the OLC’s 2020-23 strategy period – the sustained focus of the OLC Board has been to rebuild confidence in the Legal Ombudsman (LeO). 

With the financial year 2022/23, and the 2020-23 strategy period, now behind us, we can reflect on the genuine headway that LeO has made – as highlighted in the OLC’s Annual Report and Accounts, which is published today. Over the course of the year, LeO has:

  • Provided signposting and support for 111,614 early contacts and enquiries
  • Taken on 7,824 new complaints
  • Resolved 9,487 complaints about legal services – including 57% through early resolution, where people received an outcome in an average of 64 days. 
  • Reduced the queue of complaints waiting for an investigation by 27% 
  • Delivered 36 learning and insight opportunities to the legal sector
  • Seen an improvement in nearly every aspect of employee ratings in its People Survey.

Not only has there been marked progress in improving customers’ experience, but that journey has been one of complete transparency and accountability. This has gone far in restoring trust and confidence in LeO and its leadership – not only for users, providers and regulators of legal services, but also for LeO’s own people. 

At the heart of the 2022/23 Business Plan covered by the Annual Report and Accounts was a roadmap for reaching a level of performance that is both acceptable and sustainable. The task of the OLC Board has been to ensure LeO’s plans are ambitious enough to deliver on this commitment, while also credible and realistic, to maintain the confidence it has rebuilt. 

During the year, new approaches to early resolution (piloted toward the end of 2021/22) transformed outcomes for people relying on LeO. Testament to this are the substantially reduced waiting times for customers whose complaints LeO has helped to resolve.

Importantly, greater efficiency and proportionality haven’t come at the expense of quality – an area where the OLC Board has sought specific assurance. To reflect the nature and scale of changes underway, the OLC has further strengthened its governance and management of risk.   

At the same time, we fully recognise the work still to be done. At a time of great uncertainty, the OLC will stay keenly focused on making sure LeO reaches an acceptable level of performance that is sustainable in the long run. 

In support of front-line improvements, we’ve been building greater flexibility and proportionality into LeO’s Scheme Rules, so people can get an answer from the Ombudsman when it really matters. This Annual Report underlines the effort that has gone into delivering these vital changes, which have been effective since 1 April 2023. 

With a tightly-focused, one-year interim strategy now in place, we’ve already begun the process of consulting with LeO’s people and representatives of both consumers and legal providers on an ambitious future strategy that will take us to April 2027. At the heart of this strategy, and reflecting clear appetite among our stakeholders, will be a clear ambition that LeO re-establish its independent voice as a driver of improvement in legal services. 

So I look back on 2022/23 with a sense of enormous pride at how far LeO has come – and ahead with a cautious optimism that LeO is now on a positive trajectory. I’m looking forward to more conversations about the future in the coming weeks and months.


Elisabeth Davies 

Chair of the Office for Legal Complaints