SLCC launches consultation on budget for 2023/24
The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission is consulting on a levy for 2023/24 that returns to just below pre-pandemic levels, following two years of cuts.
This year the levy will rise by nine per cent.
The average employed solicitor’s levy will increase by £32 to £393, with solicitors in the first three years of practice paying half of that. Business owners pay a higher rate in recognition of their role in addressing the systemic issues which lead to complaints.
SLCC chief executive Neil Stevenson said: “We know that any increase in the levy is an extra demand on firms, so we’re pleased to be able to limit this year’s increase to below inflation and below 2020/21 levels. With complaint numbers continuing to rebound following pandemic falls, and rising costs in a number of key areas, we must make provision in our budget to cover costs.
“The proposed budget is set to achieve the successful delivery of our core statutory duties – managing complaints and awarding redress, monitoring trends and delivering guidance and best practice support to the sector. We will also continue to make the case for reforms that will make the complaints process more efficient.
“We have also looked at savings and hope to make significant cost savings through a potential property move around a lease break clause in September 2023. Details cannot be guaranteed until a final deal is reached, but it is a core part of our commitment to reduce the levy as much as practicable whilst delivering a fair service to the public and profession.
“We have a busy year ahead, with continued significant change in the external environment influencing our work. Our operating plan sets out how we will continue to deliver improved performance in our core functions while driving and influencing the broader change required.
“We invite responses to the consultation on the draft budget and draft operating plan.”
SLCC acting chair Niki Mclean added: “The SLCC has a long-term commitment to only collecting the levy needed to deliver our functions to the public and profession. Over the past two years, the organisation worked swiftly to pass on savings resulting from lower complaint numbers via consecutive cuts in the levy. This year we have limited the levy rise to that required to meet our statutory functions in today’s inflationary climate.
“The organisation has a key commitment to improvement. Learning from best practice and our own experience over the past few years is helping us to shape a new, more efficient and sustainable operating model, with a focus on our people, our IT and our property needs.
“Investment in that work will be a priority for the coming year, along with a continued focus on driving improvement, efficiency and excellent customer service in delivering our statutory duties.”
The consultation is open until noon, Thursday 16 March 2023.