Make customer service a priority, especially for vulnerable people, says the SRA
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is calling on solicitors and firms to raise the bar in customer service in order to help and to protect vulnerable people.
In its Risk Outlook report launched this week, the SRA advises that vulnerable people have a greater need to be protected from poor service, and says they need more support when it comes to getting redress if things go wrong.
The report indicates that vulnerable people are:
- less likely to complain to the solicitor or firm;
- less likely to complain to the Legal Ombudsman or the SRA; and
- not always able to judge the quality of service until it is too late.
A vulnerable person could be someone with a disability; someone with limited ability to judge the quality of legal advice; someone in a stressful situation; or someone having experienced a trauma or personal tragedy.
Paul Philip, SRA Chief Executive said: “With more than 27,000* service complaints made to law firms in 2014, delivering high quality legal service is essential and needs to be at the top of firms’ agendas. It is vital that solicitors and law firms look to identify what they can do in order to support vulnerable people more effectively.”
Other priority areas highlighted in the new Risk Outlook are:
- information security and cybercrime;
- bogus law firms;
- misuse of client money;
lack of a diverse and representative profession;
- lack of independence; and
failure to act with integrity.
More information is available on the SRA website: http://www.sra.org.uk/priorityrisks
Risk Outlook is published annually by the SRA. It is updated twice a year and provides information and insights to help law firms manage a broad range of priority risks.
*Service complaints figure taken from SRA and the Legal Ombudsman data.