The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission is consulting on a new strategy for the next four years, aimed at putting consumer understanding at its heart.
The draft strategy outlines a number of key priorities for the SLCC including work with consumer groups, lawyers and professional bodies such as the Law Society of Scotland and the Faculty of Advocates. This work includes greater efficiency and effectiveness in complaints handling, increased visibility for the SLCC and considering whether the current regulatory set up delivers effective protection and redress for consumers.
Bill Brackenridge, SLCC Chair said, “At a time when consumer rights and redress are very much on the agenda for all sectors, this strategy lays out the path to an even more effective and efficient legal complaints handling system, where we build on the learning from complaints we’ve already undertaken in the last seven years.”
“We’re currently in a strong position and now is a great time to start planning for the years ahead – to our 10th anniversary in 2018 and beyond. We think we can deliver even greater value to consumers and to lawyers, but working in partnership is a key part of this. We’re looking forward to hearing what our stakeholders want to contribute to the refreshed approach we’re laying out.”
Neil Stevenson, CEO added, “One area we think will be of particular interest is focus on the consumer journey – we tend to talk about regulation from the perspective of the pieces of legislation, or the institutions involved. With the strategy we’re consulting on, we’ve lifted techniques used with patients in the NHS, and used them to examine the pathways along which lawyers and consumers experience regulation. It makes you look very differently at the current landscape – for example, should a single complaint travel across as many as four organisations to be resolved? And even if that is the best way of handling it, how do you work together to give the consumer a single explanation of the system and the different stages? ”
“Personally, another project I see as vital is work to look at situations where we decide a client has suffered poor service, but the firm is being disbanded and the client never gets the refund in fees we award. We think this undermines confidence in the regulation of the sector, and want to work with others to look for solutions. We believe clients should be sure they will always get redress when things go wrong, and we know lawyers also want to be able to give this reassurance, but that’s not a promise that can always be made at the moment. Of course, the purpose of the consultation is to see what focus and projects others think are important, and we’d really encourage debate and input.”
The SLCC’s budget and operating plan for 2016-2017 are also out for consultation.
The consultation is open until 11th March.