The Office for Legal Complaints today published its Annual Report and Accounts for 2020/21 alongside an Annual Review of Complaints.
This Annual Report covers the year from April 2020 when the impact of Covid-19 was felt across the sector and the country. The Legal Ombudsman was able to transfer to home working early in the pandemic to ensure our service remained open for our customers. Induction of new staff was conducted remotely and training courses for the sector successfully moved online reaching more people than traditional face to face events.
However, as has been reported during the year, the backlog of cases waiting to be investigated doubled during the year (from 2,464 at the end of 2019/20 to 4,829 at the end of 2020/21) as a result of the reduction in case closures.
In January a new leadership team joined the Legal Ombudsman, with Paul McFadden as Chief Ombudsman. Under their leadership the focus has been on developing plans for recovery and the Business Plan for 2021/22 sets out the plans for delivering this.
Despite the challenges of the year progress has been made in key areas. Performance modelling has been rigorously tested and in the latter months of the year case closures met performance targets. Alongside this there are cautious signs that staff morale, which had hit its lowest last year, has improved considerably during the year.
OLC Chair, Elisabeth Davies said
“Annual Reports need to honestly assess the past as well as providing reassurance about plans for the future and I hope this Report does just this. This has been a difficult year for all in the sector and Covid-19 has seen an increase in the backlog of cases.”
“There is much to be done to reach a position where the Legal Ombudsman scheme is delivering the right level of service to its customers, but we have moved into the current year with a clear Business Plan in place that is already being delivered by a re-invigorated workforce.”
The full report can be accessed here: https://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/information-centre/corporate-publications/reports-and-plans/