Privacy and Cookies

This page tells you what to expect when the Legal Ombudsman (LeO) collects personal information. When we use the phrase personal information we mean information that identifies or describes an individual.

The Office for Legal Complaints (the Board of the Legal Ombudsman) is a data controller under the terms of the Data Protection Act. This means we are responsible for how and why your personal information – things you tell us about you – is used.

We recognise that privacy is important. This Privacy Notice sets out what to expect when we collect personal information. It applies to information about

  • visitors to our websites
  • complaints we consider under the Legal Ombudsman Scheme rules. Including information we collect about complainants, lawyers and other individuals in relation to cases we are handling
  • The work we undertake to fulfill our statutory duty under the Legal services act 2007
  • surveys and research we undertake
  • people who use our services, eg who subscribe to our newsletter or request a publication from us;
  • job applicants and our current and former employees.
  • Any other personal information we may have a legitimate reason to process.

What Information we collect

When someone visits www.legalombudsman.org.uk we use Google Analytics to collect standard internet log information and details of visitor behaviour patterns. We do this to find out things such as the number of visitors to the various parts of the site. We collect this information in a way which does not identify anyone. We do not make any attempt to find out the identities of those visiting our website. We will not associate any data gathered from this site with any personally identifying information from any source. If we do want to collect personally identifiable information through our website, we will be up front about it. We will make it clear when we collect personal information and will explain what we intend to do with it.

Use of cookies by the Legal Ombudsman

Cookies are small text files that are placed on your computer by websites that you visit. They are widely used in order to make websites work, or work more efficiently, as well as to provide information to the owners of the site. You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but certain functionality of our site will not work.

Most web browsers allow some control of most cookies through the browser settings. To find out more about cookies, including how to see what cookies have been set and how to manage and delete them, visit www.allaboutcookies.org. (Website opens in new window)

To opt out of being tracked by Google Analytics across all websites visit http://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout. (Website opens in new window)

Click here for list of cookies

People who make a complaint to us

When we receive a complaint we make up a file containing the details of the complaint. This normally contains personal details (such as name, and contact details) as well as any information you give us about the complaint you have asked us to look into. We collect this information by telephone, email, post and from the Customer Assessment Tool (CAT) which we ask you to complete in order for us to assess your complaint. By submitting the form electronically, this information will be delivered directly into the Legal Ombudsman’s email system.

The Legal Ombudsman also records telephone calls for the purposes of staff development and also for recording information in respect of complaints we receive.

People who use Legal Ombudsman services

The Legal Ombudsman may offer various services to the public. For example, we may send out publications and distribute an electronic newsletter.

We have to hold the details of the people who have requested the service in order to provide it. However, we only use these details to provide the service the person has requested and for other closely related purposes. For example, we might use information about people who have requested a publication to carry out a survey to find out if they are happy with the level of service they received. When they subscribe to our services, they can cancel their subscription at any time and are given an easy way of doing this

Job applicants, current and former LeO employees

When individuals apply to work at LeO, we will only use the information they supply to us to process their application and to monitor recruitment statistics

Once a person has taken up employment with the LeO, we will compile a file relating to their employment. Once their employment with LeO has ended, we will retain the file in accordance with the requirements of our retention schedule and then delete it.

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Links to other websites

This privacy notice does not cover the links within this site linking to other websites. We encourage you to read the privacy statements on the other websites you visit.

Why do we collect this information and what do we do with it

We need to collect, use, and store the personal information you give us in order to:

  • Respond to your enquiries or complaints about legal or claims management service providers.
  • Deliver provide our service to you
  • Ensure that we fulfil our statutory duty set out by Parliament in the Legal Service Act 2007.

We also have a number of things we have to do under the law that applies to us. Therefore we may:

  • Ask for your opinions and comments about our service.
  • Monitor the public service we are required to deliver
  • After removing all your personal information (name, address or any other information which may identify you.),   use your complaint as an example of the type of work we do.
  • To ensure we abide by an legal obligation we are subject to, or the exercise of any legitimate interest.

Who has access to the information?

Your information will always be held securely. We implement technical and organisational measures to ensure all information is secure and cannot be accessed by unauthorised third parties.

We have in place strict access controls to all information. Only those people who have a genuine need to access your personal information will be able to do so.

To help deliver our service we use carefully selected partner organisations who process information on our behalf under strictly controlled terms. For example certain professionals such as researchers will carry out work for us in order to check on the level of service we provide and help improve the service we provide.  Any information they access  will be limited to the work they are undertaking for us and governed by strict data sharing and confidentiality rules.

We will also use  others who perform work on our behalf, such as those professionals who scan the post you send to us,  print the letters we send to you, provide translation services, provide IT support, or assist under contractual agreements with some aspect of our service.

Who might we share your information with?

We will share information we consider relevant with the service provider you are complaining about.  This is part of our investigation and just for the purposes of resolving the complaint you have asked us to look into.

We may also share relevant information with the Approved Regulator of the service provider. The Approved Regulator is responsible for the professional conduct of the service provider.

We will publish data on our website about all cases that require an ombudsman decision.  This will include the name of the service provider, the decision of the ombudsman and the area of service provided. We will not publish your name or personal details.

The law may also require us to share information with other bodies. Any such sharing will be strictly in accordance with the law and where appropriate you will be notified about it.

How long do we hold your information?

We hold information for only as long as necessarily. Our Information and retention Policy sets out how long information will be held for.

What are your rights?

Under the Data Protection Act 2018 you have a number of rights. You are entitled to:

  • Ask us about what we are doing with your personal information
  • Ask for any incorrect information to be put right.
  • Ask us to restrict the use of your personal information
  • Ask us not to use your personal information any more.
  • Ask us to delete your personal information.
  • Ask us to provide you with details of the personal information we hold about you

We do not make any decisions based solely on automated processing.

Privacy enquires

If you have an enquiry or concern about our privacy policy, please contact compliance@legalombudsman.org.uk

If you are unhappy with how we have handled your personal information, you may refer your concern to the Information Commissioner’s Office  (ICO) for a decision at:-

Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF.

Generally the ICO cannot provide a decision until you have addressed your concerns to us first.

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