Magazine article Public Finance

Legal Work Outsourcing Causing Crisis, Claim Staff

Magazine article Public Finance

Legal Work Outsourcing Causing Crisis, Claim Staff

Article excerpt

Civil servants this week warned of a 'deepening crisis' at the Office of the Legal Services Ombudsman, involving an alleged backlog of work outsourced to a private firm.

Olso staff voiced concerns that the performance of the government body, which oversees complaints about solicitors, had been 'seriously undermined' by the failure of a private partner, Safecall, to complete work effectively.

The Public and Commercial Services union, which represents 90% of Olso employees, claimed that the number of unresolved complaints had risen following a 40% decline in internal casework capacity. Olso completed a third fewer investigations between April and December 2004, compared with the previous year.

The union also claimed there has been a 'lack of safeguards' on work outsourced to Safecall, including a failure to monitor complainants' satisfaction with the ombudsman service.

PCS officials also attacked Olso executives for failing to fill crucial posts and for shifting in-house resources away from frontline services. …

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