An online survey of 1,010 premature complainants was undertaken. The sample came from contact details held by the Legal Ombudsman of all who had made a premature complaint since October 2010 and for whom an email address was collected.
This report was commissioned in order to investigate the attitudes and experiences of first-tier complainants within the legal services domain, and to understand what typifies both good and bad complaints processes.
Summary of voluntary accreditation schemes in order to promote high standards in legal provision. 16% of solicitors belong to at least one accreditation scheme, and 18,000 legal professionals are members of these schemes.
Why defendants ranked their lawyer as “good” (or not) – page 49.
Summary of specialist quality mark – what it consists of (page 2 onwards) and what it is supposed to achieve (page 7). Very much an internal, process-driven document.
Summary of main professional codes (page 14) by main legal service providers.
Voluntary organisations do train staff (but no suggestion of any kind of accreditation at this point in the report) – page 6. Further details on training given to survey participant organisations (page 66 – 66). Also use of other standards i.e. investors in people (page 73).
Summary of ILEX members route to qualification (page 1).
Very briefly summarises training regime for legal execs (page 133).
Summarises various quality standards (page 4). Report wants quality assurance marks subject to revaluation (page 7). Entry barriers only guarantee that a lawyer will be an “inexperienced generalist) – page 15. Summary of individual quality marks available (page 20 – 21). Barristers seem less keen on quality marks (page 22). Repeats request that quality marks are granted on a time-limited basis (page 26). Further quality marks summarised (i.e. Bar Mark) – page 27. Summary of numbers of complaints against lawyers (page 30). Also discusses the existence of legal directories etc (page 33) as quality benchmarks. Report repeats claim that quality marks would need to be heavily promoted before they begin to work as effective signals of quality (page 40).
The Quality Mark
- Generally considered to have been beneficial by ACs and key in securing funding and
demonstrating the quality/legitimacy/ professionalism of AC I&A services.
- Lack of auditing has lead to ambivalence towards QM and quality measures from ACs.
Summarises the number of investigations into law practices by the SRA (page 3), the number of regulatory compliance visits to firms (and grades achieved) (page 11), and firm closure rates (page 12). Also summarises allegations against firms by compliance risk (page 14), number of forensic investigations (page 15) and disciplinary outcomes (page 17 – 18). Summarises interventions (page 19)
The Quality mark – which has three components – fundamental (i.e. contractual), quality assurance and quality control (page 2 – 3). The remainder of the report is a step by step guide to some of the various processes that would need to be put in place to achieve the standards. i.e. file review (page 16 onwards) client feedback (page 18 onwards) and system reviews (page 20 onwards)
Summarises routes to qualification among various professions (page 2). Wants consistent quality assurance standards across all providers (page 7).
The objective of Lexcel is to enhance the service given by a practice to its clients, to improve the management of the practice and the morale and motivation of its staff. Lexcel encourages practices to consult with clients to ensure that the views of the users of legal services have an impact on the way the service is delivered. There is an emphasis within the standard on continuous improvement. Page 2
Detailed requirements for meeting the Lexcel standard – Pages 3-11
Targeted civil legal advice services for adults with mental health problems prevent homelessness and reduce debt
Table of existence of quality standards across Europe – Page 132
Survey respondents lined the Specialist Quality Mark for advisors (page iv). Scepticism over value of CPD (page 16). Also sceptics over value of LPC (page 18). Summarises key regulators and quality standards across a range of legal advisors (page 22 – 23). Discusses “contract-based” quality standards – i.e. SQMs (page 24). And again (page 28).
Skills of lawyers compared with other sectors (page 11).
Entry requirements for barristers briefly summarised (page 14). Report discusses whether minimum academic standards for entry should be introduced (page 55 – 58).
Education standards for various different types of advisor compared (page 14).Actual qualifications obtained by advisors, across various different types of advisor entity (page 22 onwards). Training offered (page 24).
Wants Lexcel quality mark to replace the LSC’s quality mark (page 68).
Discussion of difference between lawyer understood quality and consumer understood quality
Discusses various different quality assurance mechanisms (page 1) in place, and criticism of it. Then discusses peer review, and who uses it in law (page 1). Further discussions on who uses it (page 4 -7). Outlines the cost of carrying out a review (page 28 onwards). Appendix has a range of peer review systems in great detail, from a variety of providers.
Discusses QCs and other quality certification assurances (page 40).
Disciplinary proceedings ratios compared and sanctions against lawyers (page 74).
Summarises qualifications required of TMAs (page 4).
Success rates for various types of advisor in social services appeals summarised (page 71). Welfare rights centre more successful than solicitors or CABs. This whole report is very stats heavy – and broken down by many variables. consult contents page for specific stats.
Specialist Quality Mark for Debt advice, immigration advice (page 14). Client feedback (page 66).
Some information on quality judgements
Report summarises survey respondents’ qualifications – page 53. Then qualifications by type of organisation worked for (page 54 onwards). Training provision from page 63 onwards. Membership of professional body (page 65 onwards).
Report refers to client satisfaction survey – is this a quality of advice measurement?
Report highlights ratios of conduct investigations against solicitors, by various demographics (pages 9 and 10). Is this a form of quality measure? Outcomes of investigation on page 11 onwards.
Number of complaints (page 10).
Quality standards summarised (page iii). Survey respondents seemed to think they worked (page iv) in terms of improving quality. Trainee supervision liked – CPD not so (page v). Post entry quality tends to be managed by complaints (page 23) and discipline. Suggests that expert non-lawyers can be better than lawyers (page 30). Large number of quality standards (including BSI) discussed page 43 onwards. Summarises specialist accreditation (page 110 onwards). Table summarises training requirements for various NFP providers (page 114 – 117) – then problems with training discussed. NFP supervision (page 139 onwards).
Quality standards required to win legal aid work (page 2)
Quality in relation to CLAS was assessed by way of peer review, audit and contract review (page 188),
Customer satisfaction ratings (94% in this case) – page 4
covers national scheme for the accreditation and training of non-solicitor police station advisors (page 14).
covers the introduction of the Quality Mark (page 5). But also suggests quality assurance standards may be overly complex and costly (page 7). Advocates slimming down quality procedures (page 8). More on how the Quality Mark arose out of previous systems (page 14). Further discussion on the value of the Quality Mark (page 34 – 36).
covers quality marks required to operate a legal aid contract (page 10).
covers old report on QCs as a measure of quality (page 15). QC numbers page 69/94. More on QCs page 78/103 onwards.
Page 17 – sets out that training standards pupil barristers need to meet before they can complete their pupillage. Report admits these rules are “vague” (page 24). Wants them clarified (page 25). Discusses tightening up of training requirements (page 48) – the Hendy Report. Further comments on what pupils need to do to be given a certificate of qualification (page 99). Suggests a very low failure rate.
Organisations such as the RAC maintain a list of preffered firm partnerships (page 11) – which is a form of quality signalling.
Complaints data summarised by size of firm (page 71) and type of matter complained about (page 72).
OFT questions whether the QC system is a genuine quality mark (page 18 – 19). it should be capable of being lost as well as won (page 19).
CLS Quality Mark mentioned (page 24).
National Occupational Standards for Legal Advice – what they contain – page 2 onwards. Specific standards for Welfare law, asylum, criminal law advice (page 10). More general skills standards (page 13 onwards).
Mentioned LSC’s Specialist Quality mark (page 7) and also self-proclaimed specialisation. But doesn’t comment on their value.
Mention of LSC’s quality mark (page 13) – and further expanation of its various levels of accreditation (page 24).
Providers who provide a good service to separated children are more welcoming and supportive of the involvement of independent adults, take an interest in the work of the Panel, see Advisers as partners.
LSC Quality Mark levels for a sample of NfP organisations – by ethnicity of managerial control page 11
Proposal to develop quality standard mark for advice agencies – encompassing both organisational standards and also quality of advice standards (page 1). Most of this paper is devoted to feedback on this proposed standard – or methods of measuring quality (i.e. mystery shops – page 15).
LSC funding for clinical negligence claims only available to firms with specialist level quality mark (page 6) – 253 firms had them in 2001 (page 7)
For legal aid work, there is peer review assessment of quality (page 34). Report highlights that BME firms come off badly from peer review process (page 52).
Post Carter, there were few quality assurance mechanisms for advocacy other than complaints and entry regimes (page 7). This document focuses on a pilot of quality assessment for criminal advocates. Various assessment options considered (page 10) and assessed (pages 11 – 16). Detailed breakdown of actual assessments on page 19 -22). Failure percentage rates (page 37) – later on, failure rates at different levels of assessment are also documented. Judicial evaluation (page 52). Failure rates by type of provider (page 58). Towards end of the report, recommendations for assessment are discussed. Estimates of costs of accreditation from page 79 onwards
Example of what additional conditions are needed for barristers to undertake direct access work – page 6
Pilot study to development quality assurance scheme for publically funded criminal advocates (page 1). Survey respondents wary of the cost of obtaining QAA scheme for advocates. (page 27).
List of Chambers holding LSC Quality Mark
“consumers do not use or want quality marks in legal services, despite the proliferation of logos making claims of quality. Nevertheless, some quality marks benefit consumers indirectly, as they are used by bulk purchasers and intermediaries who filter the market on their behalf.” (page 1). Summarises how quality is currently assured in the legal services market (page 20), and take up among a selected group of practice areas (page 21).
List of Chambers holding Barmark
the work experience component of lawyers’ training in E&W is far longer than in New South Wales (page 9). Firms self-certify their lawyers CPD compliance (page 12).
Lexcel is recognised by insurers as an effective risk management tool – Page 1
Legal Advice Services National Occupational Standards Toolkit (page 1). AdviceUK has a training scheme for advisors (page 16)
Both LSC and Office of the Immigration Service Commissioner now use peer review to assess quality (page 7).
Lawyers have to be on the Children’s Panel to represent children (page 1). More on the process of accreditation (page17 – 18). More panel membership accreditation (page 23). Debate about the actual quality of CP members (page 34). Application to join panel takes no account of previously experience (page 42). Suggests alternatives (page 47). Reaccreditation after 5 years (page 71). Training requirements (page 79. More comments on the accreditation process (page 83).
Discusses training routes to qualification of solicitors in England and Wales (page 80 onwards). (solicitors only became a graduate profession after 1971 report) page 87. Extensive discussions of proposed reforms to legal training regime (pages 100 onwards). Also covers specialisation (page 110).
In tendering process, the use of peer review evaluation is mentioned (page 6). Thinks the quality threshold is too low (page 7).
Audit commission evaluated the legal services provision at Sheffield City Council (page 6). Client feedback (page 14). Report branded quality of service as “fair” (page 19) and then suggested how it should improve. covers lack of performance indicators (page 22).
In relation to legal aid, publication of outcomes might be a proxy standard of quality – i.e. 5% success rate for immigration cases versus 40-70% success rate on average (page 25).
Assessed whether specialist quality mark holders would sign-post model clients to other professionals for issues that were outside their competence (page 2). A mixed bag of results. Brief summary of various quality marks (page 6). Is “helpfulness?” a quality of advice measure? If so, stats comparing NFP and sols experience is show on page 24. Survey on whether clients felt they had been given clear advice (page 25).
In publically funded legal advice, table shows levels of qualifications of advisors by type of entity their work for (page 23-24). Most lawyers have degrees, much less prevalent in other advice sectors. Training levels also show (page 25 – 26), as are membership of accreditation scheme (page 29).
Analysis of effectiveness of quality marks.
In legal aid work, peer review is used. Providers will not be used if they score below a certain peer review threshold (page 2).
Accreditation standards – for management – if not legal advice – include BS5750, ISO 9000, Investors in People, Law Society Practice Management Standards, LSC standards (page 3). Also Legal Aid Franchise Quality Assurance Standards, Specialist Quality Mark (page 4). And General Quality Mark (page 5). And Information Quality Mark (page 5). For the Bar, standards include BARMARK (page 9). Among survey respondents, overwhelming majority had not noticed quality marks (page 34). Further discussion on range of different quality marks available (page 46 – 50), and what impact the providers thought they had on clients (page 50 – 52). Advisors asked what their definition of quality should be (page 55). Almost as much on organisational competence as technical skill. Also discusses peer review (page 79).
List of Lexcel holders by region
“We support LSC developments in relation to peer review, where independent and experienced practitioners are asked to assess the quality of legal work. We consider that all methods of service delivery should be subject to peer review, including the expanded telephone advice services.” (page 8).
Australian process to voluntarily accredit ADR providers (page 13).