Former policeman Steve Green today cleared the final hurdle to his appointment as the new chair of the Office for Legal Complaints – the body that oversees the Legal Ombudsman – after he was endorsed by MPs on the justice select committee.
Following a pre-appointment hearing earlier this week, the committee said today that the former chief constable of Nottinghamshire has “considerable relevant experience and he will bring to the position substantial knowledge of the work of the Legal Ombudsman and of the operation of the wider system of legal regulation.
“We have no hesitation in endorsing Mr Green’s candidacy, and we wish him well in his tenure in the post.”
Mr Green, who will step down from his role as a board member of the Legal Services Board, was one of 43 people who applied for the chance to succeed Elizabeth France from 1 April 2014, it emerged today. Seven were longlisted for first interview and four shortlisted.
He will be paid £52,500 for an estimated 60 days a year.
In its report on the appointment, issued this morning, the justice committee said: “Mr Green showed a clear understanding of the complexity of the system of legal services regulation, particularly as viewed from the perspective of the consumer of legal services.
“For example, he highlighted the fact that ‘bundled’ services, such as those provided to a person purchasing a home, meant that different ombudsmen would have oversight of different stages of the process. He also recognised that there was logic in extension of the Legal Ombudsman’s remit to services such as alternative dispute resolution services, as well as to claims management companies and to other providers of legal advice and assistance.
“We believe he will make a valuable contribution to consideration of changes to the regulatory and complaints system in what is a constantly changing landscape in respect of provision of legal and related services to the public.”
The MPs were pleased that Mr Green also understood “the pressing need” for the Legal Ombudsman to pursue further efficiencies and to continue the process of bringing down its average costs per case, “which are towards the upper end of comparable ombudsman schemes according to a recent report from the Legal Services Consumer Panel”.
Mr Green responded today: “I am delighted to take up this chance of leading such a vital organisation at this challenging and exciting time. The ombudsman has started to reach maturity after a successful start-up phase and I look forward to encouraging it to future success and taking a real lead in ensuring consumers and professionals have access to a high-quality and modern ombudsman scheme.
“I would also like to take this chance to thank Elizabeth, the outgoing chair, for her fine leadership and strong vision which has made the launch of the Legal Ombudsman such a success. I look forward to building on that legacy.”