OLC Annual Report and Accounts published

16 July, 2021

The Office for Legal Complaints today published its Annual Report and Accounts for 2020/21. 

This Annual Report covers the year from April 2020 when the impact of Covid-19 was felt across the sector and the country. The Legal Ombudsman was able to transfer to home working early in the pandemic to ensure our service remained open for our customers. Induction of new staff was conducted remotely and training courses for the sector successfully moved online reaching more people than traditional face to face events.  

However, as has been reported during the year, the backlog of cases waiting to be investigated doubled during the year (from 2,464 at the end of 2019/20 to 4,829 at the end of 2020/21) as a result of the reduction in case closures.  

In January a new leadership team joined the Legal Ombudsman, with Paul McFadden as Chief Ombudsman. Under their leadership the focus has been on developing plans for recovery and the Business Plan for 2021/22 sets out the plans for delivering this.  

Despite the challenges of the year progress has been made in key areas. Performance modelling has been rigorously tested and in the latter months of the year case closures met performance targets. Alongside this there are cautious signs that staff morale, which had hit its lowest last year, has improved considerably during the year.  

OLC Chair, Elisabeth Davies said Annual Reports need to honestly assess the past as well as providing reassurance about plans for the future and I hope this Report does just this.  This has been a difficult year for all in the sector and Covid-19 has seen an increase in the backlog of cases. There is much to be done to reach a position where the Legal Ombudsman scheme is delivering the right level of service to its customers, but we have moved into the current year with a clear Business Plan in place that is already being delivered by a re-invigorated workforce. This puts the scheme in a strong position to continue moving forward in 2021/22”. 

Chief Ombudsman Paul McFadden who joined the organisation in January 2021 said “This Annual Report shows that, whilst progress has been made, there is still much for the Legal Ombudsman to do to deliver stable and sustainable performance. The Business Plan places the backlog and speeding up our process as the central priority, this is a task that all staff are focused on and committed to achievingI am looking forward to working with the sector over the coming year to share our progress ”. 




Notes to Editors: 

  • The Legal Ombudsman for England and Wales was set up by the Office for Legal Complaints under the Legal Services Act 2007. Independent and impartial, it investigates complaints and offers a free service to easily guide the public through the process of making complaints when they feel they have experienced poor service from regulated legal or claims management service providers. Its work goes above and beyond complaints by feeding back to service providers through courses, guidance documents and conferences.
  • Elisabeth Davies joined as Chair of the Office for Legal Complaints on 1 April 2020. Elisabeth is also a Senior Independent Director at the Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman, a member of the Civil Justice Council and a former chair of the Legal Services Consumer Panel. 
  • Paul McFadden joined the Legal Ombudsman as Chief Ombudsman in January 2021. Prior to this Mariette Hughes was Interim Chief Ombudsman from October 2020 to January 2021. 
  • View our Annual Report and Accounts for 20/21 here

  • You can take a look at our performance data here, which we use to measure and demonstrate how effectively we are working.

  • You can look at our complaints data here.