Guidance related to Rule B5:Client Relations Manager
1. Records to be kept (Rule
It is not intended that the record keeping exercise should
simply be an administrative one. Experience shows that keeping
records of complaints received can assist a practice unit in
identifying areas which need to be improved in the service to
clients and often point up either problems with systems or the way
in which a member of staff may be dealing with matters. It is
considered that the Client Relations Manager of a practice unit
should hold a record of all complaints received even if the
practice unit itself splits into various different departments for
business. That way the Client Relations Manager can get an overview
of the work being carried out and where difficulties may be
The central record itself could take various forms. It is accepted
that the central record might simply be a file retained by the
Client Relations Manager with the correspondence received in
connection with complaints showing what has happened and how they
have been dealt with. However, either instead of or in addition to
that, a number of practice units keep a central summary record of
complaints which they have received.
That record could show the following information:
1. The name of the
2. The type of
business giving rise to the concern.
3. The name of the
4. The concerns
expressed by the client.
5. The action taken
to deal with the complaint.
6. Any other issues
This type of record does help a Client Relations Manager see at
a glance if there is a common theme to complaints being made, or
common issues that might need to be tackled. It is recommended that
records of individual complaints should be retained for five years
from the date the matter is resolved or closed.
2. Written procedure (Rule B5.5.2)
In September 2001 a protocol was published in the Journal (page
8) for handling complaints within firms. The principles set out in
that protocol have not altered in the intervening years. It is
believed that where a client wants to make a complaint they should
be given clear written information about what to do, who to
contact, and how to set out the complaint. It is suggested that the
written procedure should be kept as simple as possible and can be
contained either in a leaflet or on a single A4 sheet of paper
which can be handed to a client who indicates they wish to make a
The essentials of the procedure are considered to be as
1. Who should the
client contact in the first instance if they have a concern?
It could be the solicitor they are instructing, the departmental
head or the Client Relations Manager.
2. What should they do if they are dissatisfied
with the answer they receive?
At that stage should they contact the Client Relations Manager or
if they have been to the Client Relations Manager they can be
advised to contact the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission.
3. What information does the practice unit need
from them to enable them to investigate the complaint?
4. What timescales will be involved in dealing
with the complaint?
5. Will the matter be dealt with in writing or
will the complainer be offered a meeting to discuss matters?
6. How will the matter be finalised?
7. Will a letter or other form of communication be
sent confirming the outcome of any attempt to resolve matters or
set out, if matters are not resolved, why they have not been
There is a need to be aware of the Equality Act 2010 and to vary
the procedure if the client seeking to express concern either has
difficulty in reading or writing, or has language or other
difficulties which would make communications in writing a barrier
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