A former Chief Crown Prosecutor has been named as the new chief executive of the Legal Ombudsman (LeO).
Barrister Nick Hawkins, who spent 15 years in the Crown Prosecution Service, is currently chief operating officer for the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).
He will replace interim chief executive Ian Brack in October and will be paid £120,000 a year.
In the wake of Adam Sampson’s departure last year, the Office for Legal Complaints – the board that oversees LeO – decided to split his dual role of chief ombudsman and chief executive. Though the Legal Services Act 2007 requires the chief ombudsman to be a ‘lay person’, there is no such requirement for the chief executive.
Having initially advertised some weeks ago, another advertisement for the chief ombudsman’s role was published on 29 July, with a closing date for applicants of 11 September. It all forms part of a major revamp of LeO’s senior management, with a new head of policy, research and communications, and head of IT also being recruited.
Mr Hawkins only joined the IPCC in September 2014. Before his time at the Crown Prosecution Service, he served 22 years in the Royal Navy, retiring with the rank of Commander in 1999 after setting up the independent Naval Prosecuting Authority.
He is also a visiting professor at the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies at the University of Portsmouth.
He said: “I’m delighted to be joining the Legal Ombudsman. This is an exciting and challenging role, which delivers an important service to consumers and regulated legal service providers. I look forward to working with the team in Birmingham to further enhance the service they provide.”
Steve Green, chair of the Office for Legal Complaints, added: “I’m pleased to welcome Nick to the organisation. He comes with an impressive track record of achievement and delivery in a range of high-performing organisations. I’m confident he will use these skills to provide strong leadership to the team.”