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As complaints against solicitors continue to rise, the beleaguered Office for Supervision of Solicitors (OSS) has released figures showing that it is falling dismally short of its own performance targets.
Earlier this year the OSS introduced a new streamlined procedure and aimed to have 90 per cent of new complaints dealt with inside three months.
But according to figures released last week, only 20 per cent of all cases to do with poor service were hitting this target.
The OSS only hit its performance target in a few areas, such as cases involving serious misconduct and interventions.
At the same time the workload is set to increase. Complaints to the OSS shot up by 30 per cent at the beginning of the year and while the trend has slowed, complaints are still up over 5 per cent on the same period last year.
Peter Ross, director of the OSS, said that there were factors which were "outside the control of the OSS" - notably the summer floods which caused extensive damage to the Leamington Spa HQ.
He called for firms to improve their client care and in-house complaints procedures and added that the bulk of complaints were generated by only 10 per cent of firms.
The OSS recently suggested a controversial plan to fine firms #300 if their internal complaints procedure was not up to scratch.
The statistics will put pressure on the Law Society, with a growing chorus of MPs calling for an end to self-regulation.