The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) provides a single point of contact for all complaints against legal practitioners operating in Scotland. We investigate and resolve complaints about inadequate professional service; refer conduct complaints to the relevant professional organisation and have oversight of complaint handling across the profession. We also have a role in promoting and advising on good complaint handling across the legal profession.
We make recommendations to contribute to the development of good professional legal practice in Scotland.
Operating independently of the legal profession and government, we aim to resolve complaints efficiently and effectively and to improve complaints handling across the profession. We are funded by a levy paid by legal practitioners through their professional bodies.
Our Strategy 2016-2020
In 2016 we consulted on a four year strategy to ensure that when we celebrate our ten year anniversary in 2018, we will be at peak efficiency and effectiveness in handling complaints. By then we will also hope to show the early impact of some more ambitious ideas, which we will continue to deliver over the next two years.
Visit the consultation page for more details of the consultation process. The final strategy was published in June 2016.
Detailed work for the first year is set out in our operating plan:
We set 5 priority themes in delivering our functions:
1. BUILD TRUST so consumers and lawyers know we are here and have confidence in our service
For us to be effective, consumers, irrespective of background or circumstance, need to know we are there to help and will respect their concerns. Lawyers must trust that we are independent and impartial. We must make our information and services accessible, and must be informed by our Consumer Panel and the ‘relevant professional bodies’ to ensure we understand our users’ needs. As a visible and reassuring presence we will increase consumer confidence and so support economic activity in the sector. Our functions will be delivered in the public interest.
2. PROMOTE STRONG RELATIONSHIPS between consumers and their lawyers, helping fix issues quickly and reducing the causes of complaints
When a problem arises, we want to support lawyers and consumers to ensure issues are fixed immediately by the lawyer where appropriate. This reduces cost and anxiety for everyone (consumers, lawyers, and the SLCC). We also want to ensure that the causes of common complaints are reduced, and that where we do need to intervene we try to ensure an outcome that maintains the relationship between the lawyer and consumer.
3. DELIVER EARLY RESOLUTION & REDRESS through an independent, impartial, fair, and accessible service which is efficient and effective
We will seek resolution between parties at each stage of our process, offering creative options such as independent mediation, and progress to formally 'determining’ cases only in a minority of cases. We will improve our own performance, including the length of time complaints take to resolve. Where justified, we will ensure matters are put right and the consumer is compensated. We will encourage apologies. The quality of our determinations will give closure to parties, and minimise the need for appeals.
4. DRIVE IMPROVEMENT through a culture of learning from complaints, quality improvement, and our influence in the sector
We want to ensure that as an organisation we have an embedded cycle of learning. This means we will learn from mistakes and successes and continually improve our performance and work. We will use our data and insight to improve how individual lawyers handle a complaint when it is first made to them, and we will influence change at a national level on standards, the handling of complaints and effective regulation.
5. DEVELOP HIGH PERFORMANCE as a complaints organisation and employer
We want to attract and retain talented people by being a place people want to work. We want to provide them with quality systems, IT, support and development to perform their role. This will ensure we provide faster and more efficient services, and will increase our transparency.
Our operating plan sets out more detail on how we will work towards these goals in the 2016-17 year.
We also identified 5 values that will help us achieve our aims:
- PEOPLE FOCUSSED – We understand are mindful of the needs of our diverse service users
- TRUST – Our processes and outcomes can be trusted by all as fair, independent and impartial
- RESPECT – We respect the diverse groups we work with and are respected as an organisation
- LEADERSHIP – As recognised leaders, we take decisive, well-informed action and drive improvement
- EFFICIENCY AND EFFECTIVENESS – We make a positive, measurable impact