SCB complaints report offers 'no sacred cows'

DIRECTOR of the Solicitors Complaints Bureau Veronica Lowe this week presents a radical report on the future of complaints-handling within the profession.

The SCB's management team has set in motion 'Quo Vadis?' – a wide-ranging review to tackle the issue of how solicitors will deal with complaints into the next decade.

“There are no sacred cows,” Lowe says.

The director wants to see all issues covered including alternative approaches such as contracting out, independence from the society, and firm-based complaints-handling.

“We want every option discussed even if it means the end of the bureau,” says Lowe. “But it has to be debated rationally and sensibly and not with people bashing the bureau.”

The review was initiated by the SCB's own management team last August after it was recognised that the bureau could not always meet the expectations of complainants.

There was also concern about the increasing volume of work and the mounting cost to the profession.

Lowe this week presents a paper to the SCB's lay-dominated policy and advisory committee. The committee will then decide which proposals should be taken up and referred to the Law Society's adjudication and appeals committee.

If it is ruled that radical changes are needed, recommendations will be made to the society's council.