The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) has opened consultation on its budget and operating plan for 2022-23. The consultation proposes a five percent reduction in the levy for notaries, lawyers and commercial lawyers. This is the second consecutive year that the SLCC has proposed a reduction in the general levy for all lawyers.
Proposed fees will be reviewed before a final fee is set. The number of complaints continues to be difficult to predict, and the SLCC is seeking further insight into this consultation on factors that may impact consumer transactions and satisfaction.
The draft operational plan focuses on the continuous improvement of SLCC’s complaint-handling functions while helping the legal sector prevent common causes of complaints.
He also acknowledges that while the SLCC has been able to operate normally for much of this year, this is happening in a significantly changed landscape and working environment created by the impact of Covid-19. The draft operational plan therefore focuses on three key areas:
- Deliver long-term change and a more efficient and sustainable operating model for this next context (focusing on people, IT and assets)
- External regulatory reform – incorporating new functions and powers, and responding to the ongoing debate over complaint amendments and broader regulatory reform
- Ensure the coordinated and integrated delivery of all “business as usual” in this environment of unprecedented change.
SLCC CEO Neil Stevenson said: “Following last year’s general fee reduction, we are delighted to be able to offer a further reduction for all lawyers. It is difficult to predict the number of incoming complaints in such a volatile environment, but our ability to react quickly to changing circumstances and continue to realize efficiencies means we are able to pass on the benefits. in the sector again this year.
“The proposed budget is designed to ensure the proper execution of our essential tasks: managing complaints and granting remedies, monitoring trends and providing best practice advice and support to the sector.
“We have a busy and challenging year ahead, but we are ambitious about what we can achieve in terms of improving performance, building a new operating model and driving much needed reform.
“We are seeking responses to the consultation on the draft budget and the draft operating plan.”
SLCC President Jim Martin said, “I am extremely pleased that the organization has not only been able to continue to perform its statutory functions in changing circumstances, but also to do so while improving its efficiency. To have this recognized at the recent Scottish Public Service Awards has been a real honor for our staff and board, and a testament to all their hard work and continued commitment to improvement.
“Learning from best practices and our own experience over the past two years will help us shape a new, more efficient and sustainable operating model, with a focus on our people, IT and real estate needs.
“Furthermore, we continue to advocate for and play an active role in developing much-needed reform proposals that will fundamentally improve complaints and the broader regulatory system.”
The consultation is open until March 17, 2022 at noon.