Scottish Legal Complaints Commission to get more ‘lay’ board members after MacAskill say-so. KENNY MACASKILL, Scotland’s Justice Secretary has today announced three new lay member appointments to the board of the scandal hit, anti-client Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, the law complaints quango which was set up in 2008 to clean up on Scotland’s massed ranks of ‘crooked lawyers’. The appointments, one of which contains a soon to retire Grampian Police Superintendent, were made in consultation with Scotland’s Lord President, Lord Hamilton, who must give
a wink his approval for the posts to be filled.
The new ‘lay’ members to join the board of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission will bring the number of former Policeman on the SLCC to three, with Superintendent Iain McGrory, who Mr MacAskill states is “about to retire as a Superintendent from Grampian Police after 35 years service”, now joining Tayside’s former Deputy Chief Constable Ian Gordon and former Chief Superintendent Douglas Watson to make three former senior Police Officers as ‘lay members’ on the board of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission.
Like his soon to be ‘ex-cop’ media famous colleagues already on the SLCC’s board, Superintendent McGrory also has some media fame, although this time possibly in a more positive light, for investigating disciplinary matters involving Police Officers, as a Sun newspaper article reports, HERE and a Press & Journal article mentions HERE. The two other SLCC ‘lay member’ appointments announced today are filled by, Fiona Smith, the former HR Director with NHS Orkney, and Siraj Khan who trained as a Barrister.
Scotland’s Lord President, Lord Hamilton must be consulted for approval of latest recruits to extravagantly funded SLCC board member positions. The three new ‘lay members’ who are supposed to ‘balance’ up the Law Society tilted Scottish Legal Complaints Commission will be happily receiving a very wallet friendly £212 per day for the next five years, for a remarkably little time commitment of up to six days per month, along with the usual expenses claims, which currently average out to a massive £10,000 approx per SLCC board member and the many other perks associated with being on what one msp called “A front company for the Law Society of Scotland.”
Interestingly, an earlier attempt to recruit additional lay members to the SLCC’s board in 2009 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
The three latest appointments to the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission come after Mr MacAskill appointed Maurice O’Carroll, the Scottish Government’s own Junior Counsel to fill a ‘lawyer only’ position on the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission’s board, after no other member of the legal profession applied to join the tainted law quango. I reported on that story in an exclusive, here : Poisoned Chalice : MacAskill forced to parachute Government’s own lawyer onto Scottish Legal Complaints Commission after Advocates shun job offer
While the SLCC are portraying the fresh appointments as an attempt to improve its ‘Called to the Bars’ anti client image, it was revealed earlier this year in the SLCC’s 2010 Annual report that it has been so unsuccessful in doing its job, the quango which was started with a whopping two million pounds of public money has only upheld one single complaint in its three years of existence. You can read more about these revelations here : ‘One complaint upheld’, 928 more sent back to Law Society & £1.8million spare cash : Scottish Legal Complaints Commission's 2010 annual report
Today’s announced three ‘fresh faces’ to join the SLCC currently hold no other public positions, unlike the rest of their soon to be colleagues at the SLCC, a concern which was expressed by one Scottish Government insider after I featured an earlier report on the many jobs of other SLCC board members, 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
The announcement from the Scottish Government :
The Cabinet Secretary for Justice today announced the appointment of three new members to the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission.
The new members Fiona Smith, Siraj Khan and Iain McGrory.
Fiona Smith was until recently HR Director with NHS Orkney, with a wider strategic management contribution as a Board Executive Director, particularly through strategic planning, governance and organisational development skills. Previous roles with Standard Life Edinburgh have included three years as a customer services manager; 2 years as a marketing developing project manager; and four years as organisational development manager responsible for the operational and strategic management of a range of HR functions across Standard Life. Ms Smith brings governance, consumer handling and complaint resolution skills and knowledge to the Board.
Ms Smith does not hold any other public appointment.
Siraj Khan trained as a Barrister and was called to the Bar in March 2010. He is currently a research student reading for a PhD at the Department of Islamic & Middle Eastern Studies, University of Edinburgh in the area of Islamic Law, Human Rights and Scriptural Exegesis. He has worked as an Immigration Consultant, an Advisor to students and staff at Brunel University and as a private clerk for a Judge at the Immigration Appeals Tribunal in London. He has represented clients in court in immigration, consumer, criminal and other matters and has around two years experience in arbitration and negotiation. He was appointed as the National Outreach officer for a national muslim youth association and since moving to Edinburgh has been appointed as the Deputy Regional Officer for Scotland and currently serves in this role on a voluntary basis. Mr Kahn brings complaint handling experience and a strong analytical capacity to the Board along with a clear understanding of diversity issues.
Mr Khan does not hold any other public appointment.
Iain McGrory is about to retire as a Superintendent from Grampian Police after 35 years service. He was appointed Head of Professional Standards at Grampian Police in May 2002. He held this post until June 2010, when the was seconded to the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS), Professional Standards Business Area, where he has led a small team to deliver proposals for new Police Complaints and Misconduct procedures. Mr McGrory brings extensive experience in complaints handling, and experience in good audit and internal control.
Mr McGrory does not hold any other public appointment.
These appointments will run for five years from a date to be arranged.
These posts are part-time and attracts a remuneration of £212 per day for a time commitment of up to six days per month.
The SLCC was established by virtue of the Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 2007. Its main functions are to resolve complaints alleging inadequate professional service or negligence by legal practitioners, to refer complaints which allege professional misconduct or unsatisfactory professional conduct to the relevant professional body and to promote good practice in complaints handling.
This Ministerial public appointment was made in accordance with the Commissioner for Public Appointments in Scotland's Code of Practice. All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees' political activity within the last five years (if there is one to be declared) to be made public. There is no political activity to be declared.