This year, despite continued restrictions on in-person training events, we worked hard to reach out across the legal profession with guidance and advice about the common causes of complaints, good complaint handling and engaging with the SLCC complaints process. We also sought feedback from the profession on key issues facing them, and the support we could provide. That included:
- Delivering 17 outreach events across the sector, including 1:1 sessions with individual firms, group sessions, conferences and university diploma courses
- Speaking directly to firms about identified issues of concern arising from complaints we see
- Issuing a quarterly CRM newsletter covering topics such as early resolution, third party complaints, price transparency and supporting and supervising trainees
- An online survey with the profession to help us understand their views and experiences on identifying and resolving complaints made to them, and reducing the common causes of complaints
- A discussion session with Client Relations Managers focused on dealing with third party complaints
- Significantly increased digital and social media content aimed at the legal profession using key messages from our outreach work.
We continued to deliver our oversight duties in scrutinising how the professional bodies deal with conduct complaints about their members. We consulted on, and then launched, a new overarching framework and approach for using our oversight powers. This will guide our future work in this area.
This year we saw an increase in the number of handling complaints made to us. We continue to monitor this trend closely. As part of our handling complaints process, we can and do make recommendations to the professional bodies on improving their systems for handling conduct complaints. Full statistics on the handling complaints we dealt with are in the statistics section of this report.
We also continued dialogue with the Law Society of Scotland and others as part of our oversight of professional indemnity insurance arrangements and the Client Protection Fund. This included successful work to secure payments for a number of complainers who had not yet received the redress they had been awarded. We were also able to observe the tender for the Master Policy broker, and have recently published a report on the indemnity arrangements. We would like to thank the Law Society of Scotland for their constructive engagement on this work.