Regulation

Legal Ombudsman’s budget proposal out of kilter with reality

Asking for a 19% budget hike in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis is unrealistic and poorly timed, the Law Society of England and Wales commented after the Office of Legal Complaints (OLC) put in an application for more cash for the Legal Ombudsman service (LeO).

Law Society president David Greene said: “Like all of us LeO is operating in a challenging environment because of the pandemic but with incomes hit due to the decline in the economy LeO seems out of step to request an increase in resources on this scale.

“Especially when LeO’s performance over the last year is a real concern, with a steep rise in its backlog and decline in the number of cases closed, even taking into account the impact of the pandemic.

"The organisation needs to focus on the reasons behind its performance levels so that these may be addressed as well as tackling its human resource issues before considering the recruitment of more staff.

“The ombudsman must consider its processes to see what savings and efficiencies can be made, supply evidence to back up its assessments and projections and consider alternative sources to help with funding its budget, such as dipping into its reserves.”

Notes to editors

Read the Law Society’s response to the OLC’s business plan and budget 2021/22 consultation

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