The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) is to focus on improving efficiency and proportionality as it publishes its 2018-19 operating plan.
Chief Executive Neil Stevenson commented, “We have again achieved some big efficiency savings, including finalising a deal which will save over £80,000 on property costs over the next five years. We’ve also made cash savings at the Determination stage of our complaints process.”
“We are still getting more complaints, and they are tending to be more complex and this has again impacted our levies for the year. It’s in everyone’s interest that we ensure fair, high quality complaint outcomes as efficiently as possible and our operating plan details three ambitious pieces of improvement work to achieve this.
“Firstly, we’re testing the boundaries of what is achievable within current legislation. Whilst this is very restrictive, we have some new ideas to test and evaluate. Bringing proportionality to a statutory regime which treats all complaints the same (whether about £20 or £20,000) is one of the key issues.”
Secondly, in the medium term, we’re pleased to be working in partnership with the Law Society of Scotland to identify changes in the 2007 Act which may be achievable, if there is consensus, by Statutory Instrument. We’ve also committed to joint communication with the public, profession and government as this work evolves, to ensure the best chance of achieving change.”
“Finally, we will continue to seek the major structural changes which will deliver better regulation and complaints handling in Scotland. We want a system that’s in line with the Scottish Government criteria for ‘better regulation’ and the international consumer principles. We published our first paper calling for new legislation two years ago, and within this operating year we eagerly await the outcome of the current independent review.”
In order to support this focus a change in management structure is being implemented, with two new Director posts in the organisation currently being advertised.
The operating plan also covers the implementation of new complaints regimes for ‘Alternative Business Structures’ which see non-lawyer ownership of law firms become possible in Scotland. Elsewhere in the plan, there is work on support for lawyers to tackle the common causes of complaints (and improve consumer experience), further work on support for vulnerable consumers and work to complete the procurement for a new panel of legal advisers.