Reference number: GS 30242
Alternative format versions of this candidate information are available on request
Foreword from the Chairman of the Legal Services Board
(1) About the Office for Legal Complaints
(2) The role of the Chair
(3) Person specification and eligibility criteria
(4) Members of the Office for Legal Complaints
(5) Conditions of appointment
(6) Timetable and how to apply
I am delighted that you want to know more about being the next Chair of the Office for Legal Complaints (OLC) – the body responsible for ensuring that there is an independent ombudsman service to consider complaints about legal services and claims management companies in England and Wales. It plays an invaluable role in making sure consumers of legal services can have confidence in the sector.
The OLC is the board of the Legal Ombudsman and the Legal Services Board (LSB) appoints its Chair and Members. The LSB holds the OLC to account for its performance in administering the Legal Ombudsman scheme.
The Legal Ombudsman has made a firm impact on the legal services sector since it began operating on 6 October 2010. Its establishment was one of the three main priorities of Parliament’s legal services reform programme for England and Wales. Independent and impartial, its role is to resolve complaints from consumers of legal services and claims management companies, while at the same time drive improvements in the legal sector by providing feedback to the profession.
The OLC’s Chair, Steve Green, is stepping down after a successful term of office during
which the OLC were required to deal with highly complex legacy issues that saw the OLC’s accounts qualified by the Comptroller and Auditor General from 2013/14 to 2015/16. The OLC, and its new management team, has worked tirelessly to resolve these issues, strengthening its governance, to make sure they will not be repeated again.
In spite of these internal challenges, the Legal Ombudsman has continued to deliver an effective service while driving down its costs. This has included significant organisation changes: an office move; implementation of a new case management system; and the creation of a new jurisdiction, which saw access to redress to thousands of claims management customers.
The LSB now needs to identify an outstanding individual to successfully lead the OLC into the next stage of its development and to ensure that the requirements placed on it by the Legal Services Act 2007 are met.
As Chair of the OLC, you will lead the board in setting the strategic direction of the Legal Ombudsman, providing strong governance and protecting the independence of the Ombudsman in relation to decisions on complaints about legal services and claims management companies.
You will be keen to build on the reputation of the Legal Ombudsman and to helping it make the most of the valuable information it holds by feeding it back to regulators, consumers and legal services providers in ways they find most helpful. This reflects the valuable role that the Legal Ombudsman scheme plays in underpinning consumer confidence. You will want to ensure that the customer experience of the OLC is second to none, combining probity and rigour with dynamism and innovation. You will want also to help develop a cost-effective organisation that listens, learns, and shares best practice – which uses technology well and deploys excellent quality control. You will also need to be alive to the opportunities and challenges of the changing market for legal services and claims management companies – and the implications of the changing nature of regulation. This will require you to build strong and productive relationships with the LSB, the Ministry of Justice and others.
You will also be confident in working with the executive team to leading an organisation that continues to develop.
We want to identify an exceptional Chair who is able to reflect the diverse range of individuals and groups whose lives the Ombudsman service touches and who brings to
the organisation’s work a cross section of experience and expertise. Underlying all the
OLC’s work is a commitment to bringing about change and improvement in this important area of our national life.
This is a hugely exciting time to be leading the Office for Legal Complaints, and I very much hope you will consider applying to be Chair.
With best wishes,
Sir Mike Pitt
Chairman, Legal Services Board
The Legal Services Act 2007 required the Legal Services Board to establish the OLC to administer an independent ombudsman scheme to resolve complaints by consumers about legal services. The scheme is known as the Legal Ombudsman.
As at 1 April 2016, the legal profession in England and Wales comprised 145,059 solicitors, 15,288 barristers, 6,848 chartered legal executives and 5,697 other individuals operating in other areas of the legal profession such as conveyancing. The UK legal sector is valued at £32 billion per annum (2015) which is up 23% in cash terms since 2012. At the same date, the claims management sector had a last reported turnover of £751 million and comprised 1,610 firms.
The OLC is independent from government and the legal profession and is an arm’s length body of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). The relationship between OLC, LSB and MoJ is a complex one in public sector governance terms. The Board of the OLC is appointed by and accountable to the LSB, which can set performance targets, and which approves its annual budget. There are further accountabilities to the MoJ. The relationship between the OLC, the MoJ and the LSB -and the financial relationship and accountabilities which exist between the MoJ and the OLC -are set out in the OLC’s , and in a with the LSB. A tripartite operating protocol to clarify how the arrangements work in practice is being prepared.
The OLC’s costs are met by a combination of a levy paid by approved regulators and case fees charged to legal services providers. For the claims management jurisdiction, funding comes via grant-in-aid from the Ministry of Justice and case fees to claims management companies.
The LSB was also established under the Legal Services Act 2007. Working with the approved regulators -and with the OLC -the LSB is responsible for ensuring that the highest standards of competence, conduct and service in the legal profession are maintained for the benefit of individual consumers and the public generally.
Looking ahead, the LSB is keen to see the OLC build a distinct public profile based on the wealth of useful information that the organisation holds about users’ experiences of legal services. To do this well, OLC will need confidence that its technology is fully operational and supports the business, that its staff are well-motivated and that performance is evaluated by a robust balanced scorecard.
The appointment is made by the LSB with the agreement of the Lord Chancellor and is subject to a pre-appointment scrutiny hearing by the Justice Select Committee. The preferred candidate will be required to attend training in advance of the pre-appointment scrutiny hearing.
The OLC currently comprises four lay and two non-lay members and a lay Chair. The Legal Ombudsman service has over 230 staff and a budget of circa £13.3m for 2015/16.
The Legal Ombudsman is based in central Birmingham which is where the OLC holds its meetings. Whilst the role of Chair is classed as ‘home-based’ significant attendance at the Legal Ombudsman office and elsewhere as required
As Chair of the OLC, you will report to the Chair of the LSB and through the LSB to Parliament via an annual report laid before Parliament by the Lord Chancellor. The latest annual report, for the period 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016 is available . As an arm’s length body of the Ministry of Justice, the OLC also has its own Accounting Officer and its own direct relationship with the Department and Ministers.
To lead the OLC Board in the effective administration of the Ombudsman scheme for complaints about legal service and claims management providers in England and Wales. You will have a key role in developing approaches to ensure that complaints are dealt with efficiently and effectively.
As Chair of the OLC Board, you will have responsibility for:
Your application will be assessed on the basis of the evidence you provide. This evidence should include specific examples of proven experience against the selection criteria listed under Experience and knowledge. These responses will be further developed and discussed with those applicants invited for interview, together with the criteria listed under Skills and abilities.
Collectively, the OLC Board needs to be able to cover a wide range of experience.
For the role as Chair, the appointment panel will be looking for evidence of an outstanding track record of transformational Board level leadership within a substantial organisation. This may have been gained in the private, public or third sectors and enabled experience to be acquired in the following areas:
Expertise in a range of areas relevant to the OLC’s work, including consumer affairs, customer service, legal services provision, complaints handling and ombudsman schemes would also be valuable.
The following criteria will be explored further at interview. They need not be directly addressed in your written application:
Diversity of opportunity is something both the LSB and OLC are passionate about. Applications are encouraged from all sections of the community and from people with diverse ages, experience and backgrounds, particularly from those currently working in, or with experience of, the private sector, and those that have not previously held public appointments. We want to explore the widest possible pool of talent for this important appointment.
The Chair of the OLC must be a lay person in accordance with the Legal Services Act 2007. As part of the application process, you will be asked to confirm that you meet the lay requirements.
A lay person is a person who is not and has never been:
(1) An authorised person in relation to an activity which is a reserved legal activity. For these purposes the following are authorised people:
(2) a person authorised, by a person designated under section 5(1) of the Compensation Act 2006, to provide services which are regulated claims management services (within the meaning of that Act);
(3) an advocate in Scotland;
(4) a solicitor in Scotland;
(5) a member of the Bar of Northern Ireland;
(6) a solicitor of the Court of Judicature of Northern Ireland.
Further advice about eligibility for appointment can be sought by contacting Gatenby Sanderson.
The Board has seven members. Biographies of the seven members are as follows:
Steve Green, Chair (standing down 31 March 2017)
Steve Green (Chair, lay) started off his professional life in the Armey before moving to the police and ultimately serving for eight years as Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire Police. Since leaving the police he has also undertaken a number of non-executive and voluntary roles. Steve was an inaugural member of the Legal Services Board where he in setting up the OLC and the Legal Ombudsman. He chaired the board’s Audit and Risk Committee and he was the lead member of the Board with responsibility for monitoring the performance of the OLC. Throughout this time Steve has been a passionate advocate for the legal services reform agenda and the need to improve the way the legal market works for consumers.
Caroline Coates (non-lay member) is a litigation solicitor of over 20 years’ experience and a partner at DWF LLP. Based in Birmingham, she is head of the Birmingham office and national head of automotive. Her practice covers advice to public sector, insurance and corporate clients with specialism in product liability, construction and complex fire/flood cases in addition to handling reputationally sensitive cases. A previous president of Birmingham Law Society, she has held numerous positions in professional and financial services organisations with an emphasis on access to the professions for everyone.
Michael Kaltz (lay member) has spent the major part of his career as a partner in Ernst & Young, holding a mix of UK and international management and client-facing roles. Currently, in addition to providing employment-related advice to businesses, he is a Public Appointments Assessor in the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments, a Non-Executive Director of Barndoc Healthcare Ltd, where he chairs both the Appointments & Remuneration and the Audit & Risk Committees, and a Lay Member of the North & West London Employment Tribunal. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and a Member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation and he holds a Masters Degree in Employment Law.
Tony King (lay member) was Pensions Ombudsman from September 2007 to May 2015. Prior to this he was the Lead Ombudsman for Pensions and Securities at the Financial Ombudsman Service. He has also been Chair of the Ombudsman Association – the membership body for ombudsmen and other complaint handling organisations in the UK and Ireland.
Dr Bernard Herdan CB
Dr Bernard Herdan CB (lay member) began his career in aerospace engineering, including 12 years spent at the European Space Agency. Following this he moved into the UK public sector where his career highlights have periods in senior executive positions at the Met Office, the Driving Standards Agency, the UK Passport Agency, the Criminal Records Bureau, the Security Industry Authority and National Fraud Authority. He has pursued a portfolio career since 2011, which has included a range of non-executive director and charity trustee roles as well as membership of disciplinary tribunals and consultancy assignments.
Jane McCall (lay member) has worked in the social housing sector for almost 30 years, and has been in senior management for the last 19 years. She was previously Deputy Chief Executive at Trafford Housing Trust (THT), a housing business with a social purpose owning approximately 9,000 homes. Other previous posts include Managing Director of two business subsidiaries within the Regenda Group, and Divisional Technical Director for the Places for People Group.
She has also undertaken several non-executive roles within the health, housing and procurement sectors. She is a Non-Executive Director at the House of Commons Commission (the organisation which runs the House), and also at University Hospital South Manchester. Jane is Deputy Chair at Egerton High School in Trafford, a specialist mixed secondary school for pupils age 11 – 16 who have a range of social, emotional and behavioural difficulties.
Professor Philip Plowden (standing down 31 March 2017)
Philip Plowden (non-lay member) is Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University of Derby where he has responsibility for all aspects of the university’s academic portfolio. His first degree is in English, and on graduation he worked for some years in the Citizens Advice Bureaux Service as an advice worker. He qualified as a solicitor, having undertaken his training contract at Christian Fisher, a leading London civil liberties practice. In 1993 he joined the Law School at the University of Northumbria as a lecturer, becoming Dean of the School in 2008. In 2001 he was called to the Bar. He retains his practising certificate as a barrister, and is a door tenant at Park Lane Plowden Chambers in the North East, although his practice is currently dormant. He remains on the Roll of Solicitors but is not in practice. Philip was appointed as a National Teaching Fellow in 2005 in recognition of his work in legal education, and in particular his development of law clinics in the UK. His academic focus has been in criminal law, evidence and practice; in human rights law; and in legal education. He is currently a member of the Law Society’s Education and Training
The main terms and conditions of appointment are as follows:
The time commitment for the Chair of the OLC is estimated at a minimum of 60 days’ work a year across the period of appointment. The annual remuneration will be £52,500.
Candidates should satisfy themselves, before applying, and be able to satisfy the panel, that they would be able to make the necessary time commitment. However, there is some flexibility how this time commitment will work in practice and it is recognised that this will be an area for discussion. The time commitment of the post will be kept under review.
The fee paid is taxable and it is the responsibility of the post holder to apply PAYE deductions in respect of income tax and National Insurance, unless instructed to the contrary by HMRC or the Contribution Agency.
The appointee will be eligible for travel and subsistence costs necessarily incurred on OLC business at rates set centrally by the LSB. The LSB employs and pays the OLC Chair and members and its expenses policy applies to claims by the OLC Chair and members.
The appointment is not pensionable.
The appointment will be for a period of between three and five years. In considering reappointment, the Chair’s regular appraisal by the Chair of the Legal Services Board will be taken into account.
The Chair of the OLC may at any time resign his/her post by giving notice to the LSB. He/she can be removed from office only with the consent of the Lord Chancellor. The LSB may not remove any member of the OLC, unless they are satisfied that the individual:
The Chair of the OLC must ensure that during the period of his/her tenure he/she is committed to and conducts him/herself in accordance with the seven principles of public life – attached at Appendix 1.
The Chair of the OLC must not, in any capacity, engage in any activity that might undermine, or be reasonably thought to undermine his/her independence and impartiality.
The Chair must not undertake any tasks or activity that may in any way limit his/her ability to discharge his/her duties in full.
The Chair must conduct his/her private affairs in a way that minimises the possibility of conflict or embarrassment.
The OLC is covered by the House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975, which disqualifies members of the OLC from being members of the House of Commons. A member of the OLC who is adopted as a prospective candidate or decides to stand, should resign from the OLC. He/she should be on his/her guard against circumstances arising in which his/her involvement in any outside activity might be seen to cast doubt on his/her impartiality or conflict with his/her statutory office.
For the successful candidate, final confirmation will be subject to full clearance checks, covering confirmation of identity and right to work in the UK plus a criminal records check.
The position is also subject to a pre-appointment scrutiny hearing in front of the Justice Select Committee and the preferred candidate will need to make themselves available for briefing for this hearing.
If you have questions
If after reading the material you have questions about the role or the appointment process itself, please call GatenbySanderson.
Friday 9th December 2016
15–20th December 2016
From 2–13 January 2017 (London or Birmingham)
w/c 23 January 2017
w/c 6 February 2017
Friday 9th December 2016
To apply for this role, please upload an up to date copy of your CV (maximum of 4 pages), the diversity monitoring form, along with a supporting statement (maximum 2
pages) explaining how you meet each of the criteria set out under ‘Experience and knowledge’ in the person specification. Please provide specific and detailed examples to demonstrate how your knowledge and skills matches each of the criteria.
To upload your application please click on the ‘continue to full details’ tab below and follow the online instructions. You can register your details in advance of your application submission if you wish.
The information that you provide on the diversity form enables the LSB to follow the recommendations of the Equality and Human Rights Commission that employers should monitor selection decisions to assess whether equality of opportunity is being achieved. The information on the form will be treated as confidential and used for statistical purposes only. The form will not be treated as part of your application, and will be detached from your application.
Please include the names and contact details of two referees. Please note referees will be contacted if you are shortlisted for interview. We will seek your permission prior to approaching referees.
Please ensure you include preferred daytime, evening and mobile telephone numbers, as well as a preferred e-mail address, which will be used with discretion.
The selection panel will consist of four members:
Mike Pitt, Chairman of the Legal Services Board, who will chair the Panel Marina Gibbs, Board Member of the Legal Services Board Sheila Drew-Smith, Independent Panel Member A representative from the Ministry of Justice
We will deal with your application as quickly as possible. The timings below are indicative:
Please note that travel expenses will not be payable for attending interviews.
All candidates for public appointments are expected to demonstrate a commitment to, and an understanding of, the value and importance of the principles of public service. The seven principles of public life are:
Selflessness Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other benefits for themselves, their family or their friends.
Integrity Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties.
Objectivity In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit.
Accountability Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.
Openness Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands it.
Honesty Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.
Leadership Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.
23 March 2017