SLCC reports on rising complaint numbers

SLCC reports on rising complaint numbers

Neil Stevenson

The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) has reported complaint numbers rebounding after two years of reductions linked to Covid-19 restrictions.

Its annual report also highlights ongoing work to improve customer service, to drive efficiencies and to advocate for reform to modernise the legislative framework for complaints and regulation.

The 2021-22 SLCC annual report covers performance in the July 2021 to June 2022 operating year, and was laid before the Scottish Parliament yesterday, along with the 2021-22 SLCC annual accounts.

Neil Stevenson, SLCC chief executive, said: “This has truly been a year of change and adaptation for the SLCC as we have built on the learning of the past two years in supporting our customers and our staff, and look at how we drive and adapt to future change.

“We reduced the levy as soon as complaints and costs started to fall and reduced it even further the following year as that trend continued. However, with complaints rising again we’ve recently been recruiting new staff to deal with the increasing numbers. That, alongside changes in the wider operating environment of rising inflation, legal costs and energy prices, creates greater uncertainties in our planning.

“However, I believe there are real opportunities to improve the overall framework for legal complaints and regulation, and our own ways of working within it, and we want to seize those.

“This year I am proud that, alongside that continued uncertainty, and rising complaint numbers, we have brought a strong focus on using service design principles to drive improvement. Whether that’s drawing insight from roundtables with the legal profession, challenge and advice from our Consumer Panel, or feedback from complaint parties, we’ve used that learning to improve the service we provide. That has seen us streamline and automate process to help us improve efficiency and customer service, and ensure our users have a range of ways to contact us when it’s convenient for them.”

“That commitment to improvement continues to be a key theme of our work, and one I’m very proud to be able to report positive progress against again this year.”

Jim Martin, SLCC chair, added: “The SLCC is an organisation that embraces change and seizes opportunities for improvement.

“This year has seen us take on new responsibilities in relation to the regulation and complaints about new types of legal business and regulators. Internally, we have supported our staff to adapt to a new operating model and introduced new technologies into our work.

“We have continued to grow as a complaints and oversight body, and we will continue to use that experience and expertise to call for reform that will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of legal service regulation and complaints.

“Although we continue to look for and implement efficiencies in our ways of working, we believe that the key opportunities for improvement are in reducing delays in getting the files and responses we need from firms to investigate cases, and in removing unnecessary prescription in the statutory process.

“I want to commend the organisation, its staff and board for the hard work that has gone into that drive for improvement again this year, one which I know will continue to be a key theme in the years to come.”

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