2016 - Faculty of Advocates Benchmarking Audit
In September 2016, the SLCC concluded a review of the Faculty of Advocate’s systems for dealing with conduct complaints and its current Disciplinary Rules, which govern the complaints handling process.
During the course of the review, guided by the procedural issues identified by the SLCC, the Faculty made a number of changes to its processes, to improve and update its methods and systems for handling complaints, including the creation of a new information leaflet and an internal review of the current Rules.
Although the SLCC made no formal recommendations for immediate change to the Faculty’s current complaints handling process, the SLCC identified that there are still improvements which could be made to the current Rules, which require approval of the Lord President before these can be implemented. These changes should make the process clearer for all parties involved in complaints investigations.
The SLCC did identify that the Faculty should consider taking further steps in the following areas:
- Prepare and promote a set of consumer-friendly Service Standards for Advocates;
- Create and publicise guidance and/or a tariff regarding the application of disciplinary sanctions;
- Publish disciplinary findings on the Faculty’s website;
- Advertise the dates of disciplinary tribunal hearings on the Faculty’s website; and
- Put in place regular complaints handling training for advocates.
In response to the SLCC’s report, the Faculty commented that it“is pleased to have been able to engage in constructive discussions with the SLCC within the audit process and has valued the opportunity to discuss and consider its own functions… The Faculty has now reflected on best practice in complaints handling and strives to continuously improve the way in which those matters are dealt with. The input of the SLCC in this process has been most beneficial”.
The SLCC and Faculty have agreed that the outstanding issues will be revisited during the next quarterly liaison meetings, with a view to an update being published by the SLCC in 6 months’ time.
Faculty of Advocates Benchmarking Report (PDF, 372KB)