20 February 2006

Your ref: 30451
Zahida Manzoor CBE
Legal Services Ombudsman
3rd Floor
Sunlight House
Quay Street
Manchester M3 3JZ

Dear Ms Manzoor

Re: Richard Hegarty, Chair of the Compliance Board

I have enclosed a copy of your findings, which you will see were made 12 months ago, into the CCS's investigation into my complaint also the CCS's response to your findings and you will see there does not appear to be any compliance by the CCS with your directions. In two letters I sent to your office, 5 April '05 and 30 April '05 I asked what happened to all the talk by the Law Society of "transparency" that exists within the complaints procedures. The investigation into my complaint has been carried out with the sole collusion of your office the CCS and Richard Hegarty which in all has taken over two years (nine months by the LSO office), in that time I have been told on numerous occasions that Richard Hegarty, when he telephoned me, was carrying out 'Law Society business' and he "discussed" with me an "issue" which I had "raised", I have continually asked to be told what this "issue" is. Let me quote from your letter of findings "Mr Hegarty needs to be asked why he telephoned you and should be requested to provide a recollection of what was said" and also in your letter you clearly ask the question regarding my business name and telephone number "they should then turn their attention to the issue of whether or not he had a legitimate reason to possess it". The nearest I got to any answers from the CCS is that "He (Richard Hegarty) indicated…, and this information did not raise any issues for us to be concerned with".

Please also find a copy of my reply to the CCS dated 25 January 2006 and a copy of their reply dated 16 February 2006 from which you will see that no answers are given and when I ask for any information I am told "the Law Society is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act". What I find strange is when the Law Society advised me to make a complaint against Thos Boyd Whyte the CCS in violation of the rules allowed TBW to collect information from my 'unopened' complaints file to be used against me including passing it on to two third parties so as to be advised by those parties who you will recall were not 'involved' in my complaint. In TBW's case their response to my complaint was sent to me for my attention and comments, in Richard Hegarty's, Chair of the Compliance Board, case although I have asked to see his response which would reveal the "issue" that I had "raised" that instigated the evening 'phone call I'm being told they (CCS) don't have to and won't tell me.

Let me quote you on 'fairness and transparency' and the 'interests of the consumer';
Ms Manzoor welcomes Sir David's report and states:
"In principle I welcome the report and am looking forward to reviewing the recommendations within it. At the heart of my considerations will be the interests of the consumer and increasing public confidence in legal services. That means fairness and transparency for all users and ensuring that their views and experience help shape any changes in the way services are delivered in the future".

Let me take an article from the 'Legal Week' attributed to yourself; -
Manzoor: strip Law Soc of complaints powers
The Legal Services Ombudsman Zahida Manzoor has called on the Government to strip the Law Society of its complaints handling powers when the Clementi review is concluded at the end of the year - and has also hit out at Chancery Lane's senior management.

"I believe that the very notion of complaints handling by the professions has now lost all legitimacy among consumers, and I am convinced that an overarching regulator together with an independent-complaints handling office is the minimum publicly-acceptable outcome of the present review," she said.

She added that senior staff at Chancery Lane should "focus more effort on further developing the skills of… caseworkers… rather than distracting attention from their work by re-organising, re-structuring and re-naming departments". Author: James Lumley. Source: Legal Week.

Let me further quote your advice to complainants; "Be persistent, 'remember it's your right to have your complaint investigated and you should pursue it because, hopefully, it can be mediated and conciliated to everyone's satisfaction."

I look forward to seeing my complaint being investigated fully, correctly and in a 'transparent' fashion.

Yours sincerely

B R Gray


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