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Office For The Supervision Of Solicitors

Volume 407: debated on Monday 23 June 2003

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To ask the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs what his latest assessment is of the effectiveness of the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors. [120116]

There is some evidence of improvements at the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors (OSS). During 2002 OSS met:

all the turnaround targets for the resolution of compensation fund application complaints;
two out of four turnaround targets for the resolution of service and conduct complaints;
one out of three turnaround targets for the resolution of remuneration certificate complaints; and
the Legal Services Ombudsman (LSO) was satisfied in 67 per cent. of cases dealt with by the OSS, up 10 per cent. on the previous year.
The OSS has produced robust management information that shows how they intend to build on their performance over the next 3 years in order to reach and exceed acceptable standards overall. Also, the OSS are undertaking an exercise to bench-mark their complaints handling schemes against the best in the services sector to identify an objective standard by which to measure performance.Additionally, the Law Society have accepted in principle. 11 wide-ranging recommendations to improve complaints handling by their Independent Commissioner, Sir Stephen Lander.However, we continue to have concerns about the age profile of cases and about the performance of the OSS in recent months. We will monitor closely the measures undertaken by the OSS to ensure they deliver real benefits to consumers.