The SLCC has opened a consultation on its budget and operating plan for 2020-21, as well as its strategy for 2020-24.
The consultation proposes a budget increase of 3.5% to meet the cost of the SLCC discharging its duties against a background of four years of rising complaint numbers and increasing complaint complexity. This means an increase of £4.00 for the year in the levy for in-house lawyers, £14.00 for the year for employed solicitors and an increase of £17.00 for the year for principles and partners in private practice.*
The draft strategy and operating plan focus on delivering and driving improvements in the SLCC’s complaint handling functions while supporting the sector to prevent the common causes of complaints. They also highlight the SLCC’s commitment to working with others to tackle the unnecessary complexities and costliness of the current system and make the case for a better statutory system.
SLCC Chair Jim Martin said “Last year we were proud to report our best ever performance; dealing with more complaints and resolving them faster. This success was testament to the hard work of our staff and a continuing focus on improvements to our processes. This means we have been able to limit our proposed budget increase despite continued rising demand (a further 8% last year) and rising costs in a number of areas.”
“The SLCC has worked hard to innovate within the existing system, and we will continue to identify opportunities to achieve further progress within the confines of our current legislation. However, we continue to believe that the system is in need urgent reform.”
SLCC CEO Neil Stevenson commented “While we are building on a strong base of improvements in performance over the current strategy period, it is essential that the levy we propose helps us to deliver our statutory functions. Alongside rising complaint numbers, we have seen rising legal and appeal costs and court fees, and above CPI rises in essential core costs such as the public sector pay deal.”
“The budget proposed is held tight to the successful delivery of our core duties of managing complaints and awarding redress, monitoring trends and delivering guidance and best practice support to the sector.”
“We invite responses to the consultation on all three draft documents – the budget, the operating plan and our strategy.”
The consultation is open until the end of March.
*Full details of general levies for different legal practitioners are in the draft budget.