In the Media

Legal Ombudsman to open online complaints portal

PUBLISHED October 6, 2014

The Legal Ombudsman has unveiled measures which it says will cut its budget by £2m in the next year, from £16.7m in 2012/13.

From the end of this month a new web portal will handle all complaints in one place. Lawyers will be able to view complaint details, share information, confirm resolutions and access decisions on complaints.

The service has to make cuts to its spending in the next year and the portal is seen as a key element of the costs-saving plan.

Chief Ombudsman Adam Sampson (pictured) said: 'We are constantly looking at ways in which we can make our service as efficient and cost effective as possible. The portal is one of the key innovations we're making to achieve this goal.

'The portal will have benefits for consumers and lawyers, ultimately making life easier for everyone involved in the complaint process.'

Details on how to set up an account will be sent to legal practice compliance officers in each firm this month. Although strongly encouraged, the scheme will not be mandatory and the ombudsman will still deal with information coming in by post and email.

The service cut around 25 jobs last year and next year will move its operations to a new location in Birmingham, close to the NEC Arena, which has half the current office space. Further reductions to overheads are also planned.

The ombudsman will have to deal with an extra 3,000 potential extra cases by the end of the year when it assumes responsibility for complaints about claims management companies.

Handling these complaints will cost around £2.9m a year, on top of £800,000 to set up the scheme, with the costs met by the CMCs.

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