Scotland’s ‘Crooked Lawyer” complaints quango experienced a rush to join its high paid do-nothing Board. DOCUMENTS obtained from the Scottish Government under Freedom of Information legislation have revealed there was a ‘mad rush’ of EIGHTY NINE applications by ‘people from other quangos all walks of life’ to fill THREE highly paid non-lawyer positions on the board of the notoriously anti-client Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, the ‘not-so-independent’ regulator of complaints against crooked lawyers in Scotland which has so far only upheld one complaint in its three years of existence after soaking up TWO MILLION POUNDS of taxpayers money in start-up costs.
The full Freedom of Information release revealing the Scottish Government’s rather tedious recruitment process including the eighty nine applications received by the Scottish Government to fill the non-lawyer board jobs can be viewed online or downloaded as an acrobat pdf document, here : Scottish Government Recruitment Process : Scottish Legal Complaints Commission Board Members 2011.
The huge volume of applications to fill the SLCC’s non-lawyer posts which attract a recession busting £212 a day together with access to massive expenses accounts & other perks all ultimately paid for by ever-rising solicitors fees to their clients, is in marked contrast to the lawyer-only board member position advertised by the SLCC, which I revealed in February in an article here : Poisoned Chalice : MacAskill forced to parachute Government’s own lawyer onto Scottish Legal Complaints Commission after Advocates shun job, attracted only one application after all but one member of the Faculty of Advocates shunned the offer.
The SLCC’s lawyer-only board member position ended up being ‘taken’ by the Scottish Government’s own standing junior counsel Maurice O’Carroll after no one else wanted the job.
CALLED TO THE BARS or BOARD : SLCC new recruits join hapless anti client law complaints quango board. As I revealed in an earlier article in March, here : One more ex-cop for anti-client Scottish Legal Complaints Commission as Justice Secretary hands out five year quango jobs at £212 per day, the three non-lawyer positions were filled by yet another soon to retire Senior Policeman, Grampian Superintendent Iain McGrory, Ms Fiona Smith, formerly of Standard Life & a former Human Resources Director with NHS Orkney who resigned from her NHS Orkney post “for personal reasons”, and Siraj Khan, who trained as a barrister and was called to the bar in 2010. More on the SLCC’s board membership and what it takes to be a law complaints quangocrat can be found in an earlier article from January 2011, here : More ‘jobs for the boys’ than action on ‘crooked lawyers’ : What it takes to be a Board Member at the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission
One Scottish Government insider commenting on the SLCC’s latest recruitment drive said the ‘mad rush’ by some to join the SLCC had been expected as many of those already on quangos or in other highly paid-for-by-the-public positions appeared to fear for their current jobs and were actively seeking out additional equally highly paid positions on other quangos.
He said : “I’m sure the remuneration package including £212 a day and access to expenses claims facilities of up to £15,000 a year played a big part in the stampede to sit on the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission’s board, particularly considering quite a few of the applications came in from individuals already on quangos or in other positions which they expected to shortly lose.”
He continued : “After all, the SLCC is well known to have done nothing for three years so its basically money for nothing. Maybe the SLCC should replace their logo with a pound sign so the public don't get any false impressions about what they are really all about.”
A legal insider who was aware of the SLCC’s recruitment drive said : “We knew there were a few campaigners and those with consumer slants in the pot, however they never stood a chance because you have to remember what type of recruit the SLCC were actually seeking. Nothing controversial and obviously only those acceptable to the Law Society please.”
You can tell we are in the middle of a recession when there is such a mad rush by some on those lists to join a quango which is supposed to be investigating complaints against the legal profession yet has been reported in the press as being pro-lawyer. Its also telling exactly who applied to join, not only the volume of applicants. An earlier attempt to recruit additional lay members to the SLCC’s board in 2009 (when other quangos & jobs were not under threat) backfired, after one of the current SLCC lay members threatened to resign then had second thoughts. I reported on this in an article in July 2009, here : SLCC appointments scandal 'humiliation' for Justice Secretary as MacAskill forced to abandon new lay member recruitment. Indeed, what a difference a recession, cuts to quangos, and cuts to public services makes.
Just to set the record straight, I was ‘encouraged’ by a solicitor to apply to join the SLCC in this latest round of non-lawyer appointments. However, after consultation with a well placed Scottish Government source, I chose not to, given the hostility of the SLCC’s chair & board towards myself & colleagues in the media, which has spilled over in emails to several institutions including the Scottish Information Commissioner.
I really do not feel I am able to work with or be associated with people who are supposed to be in positions of protecting consumers, but who in reality exhibit an unhealthy level of HATE, PREJUDICE & a willingness to twist facts, misrepresent issues, deny the release of information and intimidate those who work in the media and all the while, belittling & discriminating against those who have already fallen victim to the legal profession itself. Taking blood money for watching consumers fall victim to a corrupt regulatory process is not my idea of consumer protection or effective, honest & impartial regulation of legal services.
No more news of suicides please : SLCC’s new secret Master Policy research questionnaires are being handed out by Marsh. And on the subject of blood money, the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission has revealed in its March 2011 Board Minutes it will wait yet another month for new research into the suicide linked Master Policy, the Professional Indemnity Insurance Scheme operated by the Law Society of Scotland which insures all of Scotland’s lawyers and allows them to sleep at night while their regulators & insurers cover up their crimes against clients. The unpublished consultation & research which the SLCC apparently does not want the public to know about, probably to avoid any further controversial evidence, can be viewed in an earlier article I published, here : CENSORED : Scottish Legal Complaints Commission's secret new Master Policy & Guarantee Fund research 'shuts out' real victims of crooked lawyers