Office for Legal Complaints publishes 2022/23 Annual Report and Accounts

Press release

The Office for Legal Complaints has today (4 July 2023) published its Annual Report and Accounts for 2022/23. This highlights the significant progress made by the Legal Ombudsman (LeO) in improving the service it delivers to consumers and providers of legal services.

In the year to 31 March 2023, LeO:

  • Provided signposting and support for 111,614 early contacts and enquiries (+4% on 2021/22).
  • Took on 7,824 new complaints (+6% on 2021/22)
  • Resolved 9,487 complaints about legal services (+44% on 2021/22) – including 5,380 (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%
  • Reduced the average waiting time for a complaint to be investigated by 15%.
  • Delivered 36 learning and insight opportunities to the legal sector (+50% on 2021/22)
  • Saw an improvement in nearly every aspect of employee ratings in its People Survey.

OLC Chair Elisabeth Davies said:

“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 know that those with a keen interest in a thriving Ombudsman scheme increasingly share this view.

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.

While the journey is not yet over, this report shows an organisation that is and deserves to be increasingly confident – as a service, as an employer, and as a voice for improvement in the legal sector. Everyone at the OLC and LeO looks forward to continuing the journey in 2023/24, as we develop an ambitious new three-year strategy.”

Chief Ombudsman Paul McFadden said:

“This time last year, we said 2022/23 would be a key year for LeO in our journey towards reaching and sustaining an acceptable performance.  We said that changes to our processes would transform and rebalance our service, so that we resolve complaints at the earliest possible opportunity.

Today, we can say we have delivered this step change. While we didn’t reach the full extent of our ambitious aims, we resolved more than 9,400 complaints. This is a 44% year-on-year increase, following a similar increase the previous year. 

Of course, beyond the numbers, what matters most is what this feels like for LeO’s customers. Vitally, we’ve implemented changes without cost to the quality of our service or customers’ experience.

As our outlook has improved, we’ve welcomed the improved – albeit cautious – confidence expressed by those with an interest in a high-performing Ombudsman service. We’re focused on staying the course – and we look forward to working together to shape the LeO of the future.”

Notes to editors:

  • The Office for Legal Complaints’ (OLC) Annual Report and Accounts for 2022/23 is available on the Legal Ombudsman’s (LeO) website. The period 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023 was the third year of the OLC’s 2020-23 corporate strategy period. For the current year (2023/24) the OLC has put in place a one-year interim strategy, and is in the process of developing a new strategy for 2024-27. Previous plans and annual reports are available on the Legal Ombudsman’s website.
  • LeO’s role is to resolve complaints about providers of legal services that haven’t been resolved to customers’ satisfaction, and to share the learning from these complaints to drive higher standards in legal services.
  • LeO can help with complaints about the service provided for most legal services provided in England and Wales. LeO’s Scheme Rules, which set out what it can help with, were updated on 1 April 2023 and are published on LeO’s website.
  • The Legal Services Act 2007 established the Legal Ombudsman scheme and the Office for Legal Complaints to administer it. It also established the Legal Services Board (LSB) to oversee the regulation of the legal profession in England and Wales. Both the OLC and the LSB are Arm’s Length Bodies of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).