Davies said the legal industry wants a rapid improvement in the Ombudsman`s performance, but the current backlog has also affected consumer confidence in the system. Lisa Davis is a former lawyer with 18 years of experience in strategic leadership, providing high-quality legal advice, and developing and implementing litigation improvements. She is currently managing director of Citizens Advice Epsom & Ewell. Previously, she was Director of Fitness to Practice at the General Optical Council, led the Case Progression Team at the General Pharmaceutical Council and was a prosecuting lawyer for the London Borough of Hillingdon. Previously, she was also Commissioner for Affairs and Civil Society at the East Surrey Poverty Truth Commission. Lisa began working at La Chancery Lane, where she practiced criminal, civil, family and immigration law. In addition to her Bachelor of Laws, Lisa holds a Master`s degree in Corporate and Commercial Law from the University of London. The next 12 months will focus on ensuring that the backlog is reduced, that new business processes lead to an improved customer experience, and that LeO is committed to looking for radical options to accelerate the progress of transformation. The Legal Ombudsman and OCOL are already working hard to achieve this, as evidenced by the current consultation on the proposed changes to the rules of our system. If these changes are implemented, they will ultimately lead to an even more balanced process and a better customer experience, while maintaining the fundamental principle of an independent and fair remedy. She is also Chair of the Prisoners` Education Trust.
This organisation works in all prisons in England and Wales to help prisoners reach their potential through apprenticeship. She is also the former Vice-President of Support for the Court, which assists people who go through the judicial process without legal representation. While much remains to be done, the Legal Ombudsman 2022-2023 is based on a solid foundation based on credible forecasts and assumptions, with viable contingencies that are regularly and vigorously challenged as part of OCOL oversight. With a clear vision, we will maintain our commitment to change and transparency, because a successful legal ombudsman is truly important – not only for legal service providers and individual clients, but for the legal services industry as a whole. As I write this blog, we are already on track for the new fiscal year. As always, there is no complacency about the challenges ahead. However, there are clear and consistent signs that LeO is on track for a sustainable and sustainable level of good performance and quality of service – one that meets the needs and expectations of users and legal service providers. I`m going to end up with the same commitment I made in my last blog, which is to “continue with a vision of change and transparency” – because a successful legal ombudsman is really important, not only for legal service providers and individual clients, but for the legal services industry as a whole.
On the Ombudsman`s website, Davies wrote, “We have carefully considered the comments from the consultation and what the industry has taken the time to share with us. We saw in this an appreciation of the openness and honesty of the OCOL; how the transparency of the multiannual approach is assessed; and recognition that the Legal Ombudsman system needs to stabilize before it can be improved. But that can`t hide the fact that the OLC asked for a lot. Liz Owen has over twenty-five years of experience in private sector research consulting and experience in the public sector. She is currently the Deputy Director of Registration and Franchises in the Department of Leveling, Housing and Communities. Previously, they held leadership positions such as Director of Intelligence, Director of Policy and Strategy, and Head of Surveys and Qualitative Intelligence at the Quality of Care Commission; Director, Customer Insight at DECC; Deputy Head of Qualitative Research at Synovate (now part of Ipsos Mori) and Director of Research at Opinion Leader. Liz is also a volunteer at The Listening Place, a mental health charity, and a trustee at Shift (a charity that uses behaviour change techniques to develop consumer goods to solve social problems). Davies said the new plan puts more emphasis on helping existing employees increase their performance and productivity by simplifying the way they work and the different ways of doing things.
In my last blog in March, I reported on the Legal Ombudsman`s business plan and budget, highlighting how ambitions for 2022/23 have marked a clear milestone in what LeO will deliver over the next 12 months. I`ve always talked about the importance of avoiding too much promise and delivering too little. In the first quarter of 2022-2023, the file closure rate represented nearly 97% of the business plan objective. This is a huge 43.48% increase in closures compared to Q1 2021/22. It is also important to note that the pre-assessment pool currently stands at 5,154, compared to a business plan forecast of 5,568. That means LeO is ahead of what it said at the time, and the 7.4% gap means fewer people are waiting for their complaint to be investigated. As part of the business plan, we talked about how 2022/23 is the tipping point to increase closures to reduce the number of pre-assessment pools and customer journey wait times. In my last blog in early March, I provided an update on the OCOL`s business plan and budget advice; the feedback we received and how they shaped the outcome document. The legal ombudsman will cut his plans to increase the budget by 19 per cent after admitting he is “asking a lot.” Many of you may have seen that, given the importance of the changes, the LSB rightly ensures that the impact of the changes is properly assessed. As a Board of Directors, OCOL is also committed to ensuring that changes to system rules do not inadvertently create barriers for clients and that any changes promote the ability to resolve complaints in the most proportionate and effective manner. To reassure the LSB and itself, the Board will work with the LeO in the coming months to ensure that the oversight framework developed adequately identifies the various effects that changes to the plan rules may have on all those who come to the LeO with a complaint.
A general project plan is already in place for all work items required to implement changes to schema rules, and reporting is a key part of it. As work progresses to understand the implementation timeline, we recognize that communication with stakeholders is crucial and will continue to work appropriately with all those affected by the changes as soon as possible.