The chief legal ombudsman will leave her post at the start of 2018 after just two years in the job. The House of Commons last week approved the appointment of Kathryn Stone as the new parliamentary commissioner for standards, effective from 1 January 2018.
It leaves the Office for Legal Complaints (OLC) again searching for a chief legal ombudsman. Stone's appointment in 2016 ended a tumultuous period featuring the resignation of the previous post holder Adam Sampson and the role having to be filled under an interim arrangement.
Stone’s £105,000-a-year role mainly involved her scrutinising complaints and how they are handled. Last week a review of the OLC by the Ministry of Justice found the organisation had made ‘significant progress’ in its governance management, although in the long term further efficiencies could be made by merging the roles of chief executive and chief ombudsman.
Stone is a former a child protection social worker and chief executive of the national charity Voice UK, which represents the rights of people with learning difficulties. Earlier this year she introduced ‘live chats’ for clients in dispute with lawyers, as part of a three-year plan to improve the process of making and resolving complaints. She said at the time she wanted to ‘make it much easier for consumers to seek support about poor service from the legal industry and get the advice they need’.
Wanda Goldwag, chair of the OLC, said: ‘Kathryn has been offered a once in a lifetime role as Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards so will be leaving the Legal Ombudsman at the end of the year.
‘Kathryn has been a leading figure at the Legal Ombudsman since taking on the role of chief legal ombudsman in January 2016 and we wish her well for the future in this important new position.’