A further increase in the use of mediation, and compensation payments averaging £1,000 a day, are among the headlines of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission's Annual Report and Accounts for 2013-14, laid before the Scottish Parliament today.
Over the year the takeup rate for mediation rose to 55%, its highest yet. This increase, the report states, has not led to a fall in the success rate, as two thirds of mediations were successful.
"In fact, we’ve found that our increased focus on mediation has stimulated informal settlement at later stages as well as encouraging the parties to consider different perspectives and to have a better understanding of each other’s point of view", the Commission states.
Among other figures from the report, 125 complaints were upheld, 247 were "resolved", these figures together representing 65% of eligible complaints.
The Commission agreed or awarded more than £365,000 in compensation or fee reductions to complainers.
The accounts show a breakeven net operating cost, compared with a £224,000 deficit in 2012-13, but a net deficit for the year of £41,000 due to an actuarial loss on the pension scheme. Costs per complaint have reduced by 37% since 2012.
CEO Matthew Vickers commented: “We’re ready to use the full extent of our powers to enforce our decisions and make sure awards are paid out where they are due. 65% of the complaints about service which we accept are resolved or upheld.”
"The SLCC’s process has become quicker and more efficient, and complaint handling times have halved since 2012."