Issue 10 :: October 2017

Legal Services Board: Chief Executive’s introduction

Welcome to this autumn 2017 edition of LSB news.

In this edition, we highlight some recent developments in the legal services arena and provide information on some of our ongoing research. We also include an update on some forthcoming activities and an outline of what our next three year strategy 2018-21 will look like.

In July the Ministry of Justice’s published its positive tailored review of the Legal Services Board and the Office for Legal Complaints.

We have published important research into the experiences of vulnerable consumers who use legal services. And as already noted we are also finishing work on our next three year strategy (for the period 2018-21) and annual business plan both of which will go to consultation in December.

Finally the Board itself will be in Bristol on Thursday 23 November meeting with local representatives of the legal profession and anyone with an interest in legal services.

As always please do get in touch if you would like discuss any aspect of our work.

Neil Buckley, Chief Executive

LSB's research into vulnerable consumers’ experience of legal services

In the summer, the Legal Services Board published research into the experiences of consumers in vulnerable circumstances when they use legal services.

Focusing specifically on people with dementia and mental health problems (and their carers) this research explores their experiences of accessing legal services and identifies what might  be done to improve accessibility, service experience and outcomes.

The findings improve our understanding of how consumers with mental health problems and dementia (and those caring for them) experience legal services.

The two separate reports focus on what needs to be done to help including the small actions that can make a big difference, for example when providers demonstrate empathy and take care to help individuals understand advice.

More information can be found here.

Ministry of Justice’s Tailored Review of the Legal Serviced Board.

In July the Ministry of Justice published its tailored reviews of the LSB and the Office for Legal Complaints (OLC).  In it the Ministry set out the findings and recommendations for both organisations.

The review concluded that the functions of both the LSB and the OLC are still required by Government and that the current delivery models, as an Executive NDPB (LSB) and a statutory body (OLC) are the most appropriate for the organisations.

The review found that both organisations are generally operating efficiently and effectively and it made a number of recommendations to further improve performance and efficiency, as well as recommendations to improve the tripartite governance arrangements.

Interim Chair of the LSB Dr Helen Phillips in response to the publication of the review said “I welcome the findings of this review of the efficiency, effectiveness and governance of the Legal Services Board (LSB).  The conclusion is that “there is still a clear need’’ for the LSB.”

More information can be found here.

LSB’s next three year strategy 2018-21

The LSB’s current three year strategy covers the period 2015-2018.  We are now in the middle of developing a new strategy for the 2018-2021 period, which we expect to consult on publicly later this year.

We have spoken with key stakeholders throughout development so we are hoping that will not be any major surprises when we consult publicly.

One of our key concerns is to be as agile as possible, so that we and the sector are ready to respond to changes in the wider environment, including the impact of Brexit, technological change and the state of the economy.

We anticipate that our new strategy will build on our current work, because being an effective oversight regulator, promoting access to legal services for consumers and making sure there is an innovative and diverse set of legal services and providers remain as important as it ever has.

Further information will be forthcoming towards the end of the year with consultation likely to start in early December.

LSB, Legal Services Consumer Panel, Legal Futures event in Bristol in November

The LSB together with the Legal Services Consumer Panel (LSCP) and Legal Futures are going to Bristol in November to discuss the issue of trust in legal services.
The LSB will hold its fourth Board meeting outside London, and its first in Bristol also on the afternoon of Thursday 23 November.
This will be followed by an event which is taking place in partnership with the Bristol Law Society and the University of Law in Bristol.
The event will be an open discussion and questions and answers session with the audience on the topic Trust – hard won, easily lost.

All who wish to attend are welcome. You can register here.

ICAEW decision

In June 2017 the Legal Services Board made a recommendation to the Lord Chancellor that the ICAEW be designated as an approved regulator and a licensing authority, extended to all reserved legal activities.  It followed on from ICAEW’s application in July 2016 and its formally being granted designation as an approved regulator and licensing authority for probate activities in 2014.

In September the Lord Chancellor announced that he had decided not to accept the recommendation.

The LSB Interim Chair Dr Helen Phillips replied to the announcement by stating that the Legal Services Act 2007 gives the Lord Chancellor the final decision on designation applications and it is a decision that is his alone to make. The reasons for his decision are set out in his letter.

Our recommendation to the Lord Chancellor reflected our assessment of ICAEW’s application and the criteria which apply to such designations. The Legal Services Board carried out its statutory role, which was to assess the application in accordance with what is laid out in the Act.

Full information on this application, recommendation and decision can be found here.

Highlighted recent decisions / reports / publications

LSB assesses regulators CMA action plans
LSB launches consultation on enforcement and rules of procedure
LSB publishes its annual report 2016/17

More information on what we have being doing can be found here.


© 2017

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