A fall in complaints about the SRA is likely to reflect greater satisfaction with how the regulator resolves disputes, an independent auditor has concluded.
The Independent Complaint Resolution Service received just 81 objections to how the SRA dealt with complaints during 2014 – a fall of 15% compared with the previous year.
As in 2013, most complaints about the SRA came from consumers, with solicitors making just 13 during the whole of last year.
‘It is likely that this reflects the continuing improved performance of the SRA in handling complaints to customer’s satisfaction,’ the ICRS said in its annual assessment report.
The ICRS said examples of solicitors complaining about the SRA reflects unhappiness among a handful of members of the profession.
‘Our caseload does raise issues about how some members of the legal profession feel they are treated by the authority and their confidence in the internal complaint process,’ said the report, which was published ahead of the SRA board meeting tomorrow.
Some solicitors have argued that the SRA has unfairly penalised them for what they believe to be minor infringements of the rules. Others believe they have not have a reasonable opportunity to put their case.
The ICRS also suggests the SRA can improve communications with legal services consumers and noted the regulator will change its approach to dealing with the public to tell them what action will be taken in response to complaints.
SRA complaints manager Rachel Pilinger said: ‘Our communication with our stakeholders has been identified as a key theme by the ICRS and SRA, particularly in regard to tone and clarity of communication.
‘A comprehensive body of work will take place this year to effect change across all of our external communications and transform our tone of voice.’
In total the SRA dealt with 1,209 complaints in 2014, a fall of 8%.