Friday, May 13, 2011

CALLED TO THE BOARD : Documents reveal 89 applications from quangocrats to join £2 MILLION cash stash Scottish Legal Complaints Commission

SLCCScotland’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.

Margaret Scanlan - Called to the Bars - Sunday Mail  15 March 2009 emailCALLED 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.

Master Policy Report Suicides revealedNo 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

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well what did you expect ?

Clearly its not a case of "We can make a difference by joining it"

Also for your information I've seen one of the questionnaires on the latest Master Policy research.I think you might describe it as "A complete fit-up" although you will be expecting that anyway.

Good work Peter.Its about time this expensive quango was scrapped and we can all get on with our lives.

Anonymous said...

Yes its amazing what a recession brings for quango jobs and the poor bloody clients will end up paying for this lot again

Anonymous said...

Yes I have to wonder what makes people join such an organisation which is so famous for being as bent as those they are investigating.

Money?

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to understand how someone who qualified as a barrister and who was called t the bar in 2010 manages to fill a lay appointment on a regulator of complaints about lawyers ?

Anonymous said...

Doesnt sound like it was O'Carroll's first choice to join the SLCC
Was it Siberia if he refused ?

Anonymous said...

What difference are 4 more board members going to make to the SLCC other than increasing their costs and as you put it their expenses claims?

Is Kenny MacAskill trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear?

Anonymous said...

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.”

Kinda figured as much although there's another issue here you should be looking into.
This HR manager from NHS Orkney resigns for personal reasons in January and is named in February as a successful candidate yet the recruitment for the new posts at the SLCC began in November'10 and by the looks of your foi they had decided on who they were going with in late December or early January.I hope some of your chums in the newspapers are picking up on these hints.

Peter Cherbi said...

This article has been republished today owing to the Blogger outage and the loss of this article and all its comments from yesterday.

I regret to say the comments on the article are all lost as I had not checked in to publish them before the outage occurred.

Anonymous said...

Makes you wonder whats going when an entire website is taken down and posts deleted.

Anyway I like your blog good to see someone tackling these crooked scum lawyers instead of the usual fawning over them that we see on the tv all the time.

Keep up the good work mister!

Anonymous said...

'Scottish Legal Complaints Commission' - with a name like this anyone would reasonably expect it to be crooked!

Anonymous said...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/faster-forward/post/blogger-begins-restoring-posts-as-outage-continues/2011/05/13/AF3OTe2G_blog.html

Your lost post should supposedly be restored according to the above.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for reposting - I read it last night and should have commented then.Anyway as I was saying there are 3 ex cops on this quango - 1 Deputy Chief Constable 1 Chief Superintendent and a Superintendent all on the same quango.
If no one thinks something is up with that there is something pretty WRONG!

Anonymous said...

She was too drunk to remember what she was saying haha I love it! and these people are supposed to be investigating lawyers (their own colleagues!)

Anonymous said...

After reading it yesterday I thought you had succumbed to the dreaded super injunction!
Nice to have you back anyway!

Anonymous said...

Lawyers and their friends look after each other which is what this is all about.Plain & simple.

Anonymous said...

£212 a day ?
Half of Scotland is on f*cking benefits and these creeps are dishing out £212 a day to their pals in the profession
SICK

Anonymous said...

I've been looking through this 400+page foi from the Scottish Govt.
Can you tell me on which page does it say there were 89 applicants ?
What a mess the whole thing is and if this is the way the Scottish Govt do their recruitment campaigns no wonder there are people wondering if its all jobs for the boys which it clearly is.

Anonymous said...

http://www.ohb.scot.nhs.uk/news_detail.asp?nID=96

Fiona Smith, Director of Human Resources

31/01/2011


Fiona Smith, Director of Human Resources, will be leaving NHS Orkney with effect from January 31, 2011, for personal reasons.

NHS Grampian will provide HR support to local HR manager Julie Nicol in the interim period, until formal arrangements can be put in place.

Fiona has made a significant contribution to NHS Orkney as Director of HR for the last six years, and her colleagues wish her well for the future.

Ends

Corporate Communications
NHS Grampian
(01224) 558819

and then she joins the SLCC.

*thinks this needs looking into*

Peter Cherbi said...

# Anonymous @ 13 May 2011 23:19

No super injunctions yet ... although I dont think anyone connected with the Law Society needs them ... all they need to go is have a quiet word in the ear of some friendly person in authority and someone can be silenced fairly quickly with a threat or some made up dirt. It must be true, two Police Officers said so in a conversation and as you know the Police never lie ...

# Anonymous @ 14 May 2011 11:37

Correct .. and state benefits are a lot less than £212 a day.

# Anonymous @ 14 May 2011 13:53

Its tucked away neatly on page 399 of the FOI disclosure.

Anonymous said...

No super injunctions yet ... although I dont think anyone connected with the Law Society needs them ... all they need to go is have a quiet word in the ear of some friendly person in authority and someone can be silenced fairly quickly with a threat or some made up dirt. It must be true, two Police Officers said so in a conversation and as you know the Police never lie ...

I hope you recorded this convo!

Anonymous said...

Have to agree with you about the level of hate at the SLCC Mr Cherbi they are a nasty lot on the phones and even in letters

zt said...

ur blog is excellent!

Anonymous said...

Peter, can you please explain how an English barrister can possibly count as a lay member? Ok, he may not be a Scottish lawyer but surely this now means that there is a lawyer majority running the slcc. I always thought it was supposed to be a lay majority.

Anonymous said...

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.”

Kinda figured as much although there's another issue here you should be looking into.
This HR manager from NHS Orkney resigns for personal reasons in January and is named in February as a successful candidate yet the recruitment for the new posts at the SLCC began in November'10.I hope a few of your chums in the newspapers are picking up on these hints.

Anonymous said...

There are 430 pages in the foi you obtained! and in no particular order by the looks of it!
Suffice to say their recruitment looks like one big fiddle!

Anonymous said...

You mean BURIED on page 399.One has to wonder the motives of people joining these quangos when we all know they are freebies for doing sod all.

Anonymous said...

Yes Jane lets cover up the info on the suicides and why dont you let Marsh do the research into their own Master Policy hahaha what a bunch of crooks

Anonymous said...

Clearly £212 a day and XXX expenses is the going rate in Scotland for protecting crooked lawyers wouldn't you say Peter ?

Anonymous said...

and it all happened under the wonderful SNP & Kenny MacAskill who can do no wrong as far as the Law Society are concerned maybe it will take something else to get this problem about crooked lawyers noticed?

Anonymous said...

Nice one Peter I'm not surprised to hear those consumer orientated people had no chance in the SLCC selections obviously they wont want anyone onboard Jane's little ship who might rock the boat.
Also good to see you couldnt be bought off - much respect to you for keeping away from this pit of vipers!

Peter Cherbi said...

# Anonymous @ 14 May 2011 16:26

Yes I did .. although the one with a more senior officer who travelled all the way down from Edinburgh at the time (this happened some years ago) is much more interesting ...

# Anonymous @ 14 May 2011 19:12

Funnily enough someone from the Scottish Government's Justice Department said exactly the same to me the other day ... and then asked if I thought the public would believe such an appointment could be construed as a lay appointment ... I said no ... and yes, it now appears there is a lawyer majority on the SLCC, although I can assure you there is no chance any of the lay members will dissent from the Law Society's line, sorry I mean the SLCC's line of course ...

# Anonymous @ 14 May 2011 19:17

More to come on that I'm sure ...

# Anonymous @ 15 May 2011 16:20

Yes, exactly ...

# Anonymous @ 15 May 2011 20:43

There would have been too many knives in my back ... except from Dougie of course (4 legs, not two as I said to Jane once, a quote which seems to have been read by quite a few at SG...)

Anonymous said...

http://www.dailyfinance.co.uk/2011/05/13/mps-to-vote-on-new-expenses-scheme/

MPs don't like having to account for every penny of public money they spend on expenses. They want a new flat rate expenses allowance paid automatically - no receipts. The plan has got widespread support (no surprise). But would such a system be adopted at your place of work? That's highly unlikely for most of us.

Public confidence undermined - again
However, David Cameron has caved in to the idea. The Government has also allowed a new committee to advise on the new changes, which could see the current Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority dramatically undermined.

Supporters of the idea claim the current expenses set-up is now so complex that a new flat rate would be more effective, wasting less time for your average MP.

So, might it not be sensible to pay MPs more - the basic salary is £65,738 - and scrap all allowances? Most MPs aren't crooks. Some are better than others, certainly. If we paid MPs more, we'd also get more tax back from them too.

Bad timing
Some tweaking might be needed for MPs whose expenses are higher. But if we pay them better - though a decent wage, £65,000 isn't a fortune - you remove the temptation for the meaner, cheaper MP to attempt to diddle the system (a few will always try).

However if you're going to reform MPs expenses, now isn't the time to do it. Not when you're cutting jobs and services. This move shows that MPs remain worryingly out of touch - still.

Meanwhile it has been revealed 40 MPs are now being investigated for possible expense abuses. Some of these may be minor infractions more to do with some MPs coping with the new expenses regime. Some may not.

Either way, the timing is terrible.


OUR MP'S ARE JUST LIKE LAWYERS, THE WANT TO CONTROL BUT NOT BE SUBJECTED TO CONTROLS.

THE POLITICAL CLASS ARE IN IT FOR THEMSELVES NOT US.

Anonymous said...

Sounds exciting kinda and just to answer someone else's comment about lawyers being glorified on tv well they can make them look as good as they want but we all know at the end of the day lawyers have their own interests at heart and ripping off their clients is standard practise

Anonymous said...

A regular reader here and I just want to say its a good thing you stayed clear of this SLCC job otherwise we would be none the wiser of their efforts to keep public expectation of better regulation at bay.I'd rather have you writing about it and doing your investigating than silenced by these legal thugs who are clearly out for themselves not some poor guy who walks into their office after being ruined by his lawyer.

Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

A qualified barrister takes up a lay position at a quango investigating lawyer complaints.Clearly it cannot be called a lay position any more.

Anonymous said...

They should have given the SLCC's two million start up money to the Marks Brothers Memorial fund instead.

Anonymous said...

The earlier comment regarding the three Policemen on the SLCC seems to sum things up very well here.No questions at all yet if you also include Jane Irvine given her time as Her Majesty's Lay Inspectorate of Constabulary there are at least 4 people on this board who have direct links to the Police.
If anyone thinks such a thing is normal or fair I suggest they think again.

Anonymous said...

Someone reported they were threatened by an SLCC staffer
Heard anything about it Peter?

Peter Cherbi said...

# Anonymous @ 16 May 2011 15:16

Good point ... and also you may well imagine what use some people with "direct links to the Police" may make against others ...

# Anonymous @ 16 May 2011 17:31

I'm not sure ... I have been informed of a number of cases where SLCC staff appear to have acted inappropriately towards consumers trying to make complaints about their solicitors ... some of the language used could be construed as threatening ...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

£212 a day ?
Half of Scotland is on f*cking benefits and these creeps are dishing out £212 a day to their pals in the profession
SICK

14 May 2011 11:37

cant even get that on benefits in a month yet this lot get it for a daydreaming session!

Anonymous said...

and also you may well imagine what use some people with "direct links to the Police" may make against others

Yes I can well imagine the old boys & girls network will be asked to quietly take out any opposition if need be

Anonymous said...

The Police are anti civilian Peter. I do not mean they bother law abiding people but in my experience when a person joins the police they eventually repudiate all people outside the force apart from thei families of course.

Now let's be fair. I could be wrong but if I am not then this anti civilian culture is going to prejudice officers against those who complain to the SLCC about their lawyers. I know of four people (not personally) who have joined the police over the last 40 years and they all drifted away from old friends.