Ombudsman Takes Too Long To Respond

The Office for Legal Complaints (OLC) has published its annual report for 2019/20, and shown that complainants are still waiting too long for the Ombudsman to reply to their issues.

The report demonstrated that throughout the year, improvements were seen with regards to time taken to investigate complains and people weren’t waiting too long for the Ombudsman’s decision at the end of the process.

However, the time it took for the Ombudsman to begin investigating an issue was deemed to be too long. The delay in starting the investigations meant that the whole process was slowed, resulting in some complainants not receiving their replies in a timely manner.

This business year finished in the most extraordinary way due to the coronavirus pandemic.

During what was a challenging time, the report notes that the Legal Ombudsman was able to smoothly transfer to home working, keeping its contact centre open throughout.

The pandemic meant that the OLC Board decided to request a standstill budget for the year 2020/21 rather than the planned for budget increase.

New Chair, Elisabeth Davies said:

“Since joining the OLC in April 2020 my focus has been on ensuring that I and the Board fully understand the issues facing the organisation that have, and continue to prevent the Legal Ombudsman from making further improvements. As the long-term impact of coronavirus becomes clearer LeO will need to consider how effectively its processes and systems meet the continuing demand for its service, along with ensuring it has good and valued people, to deliver the quality of service that is necessary”.

Chief Ombudsman Rebecca Marsh, who announced last month that she was stepping down as Chief Ombudsman to take up a new role, said:

“While it is clear that the overall performance of the Legal Ombudsman has not yet reached the levels we are seeking I am confident that the work completed to date provides strong foundations for future development’.

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