During the audit of the OLC’s 2013-14 accounts, concerns were raised about the remuneration and expenses of the OLC’s Chief Executive. These concerns had also been raised with the OLC, Legal Services Board and Ministry of Justice who had started to look into them.  Following questions raised by the NAO, the OLC and Ministry conducted a detailed review of the remuneration, expenses and benefit payments of senior staff since the OLC was created in 2009.

The review identified a number of payments which the C&AG considers to be novel and contentious and which were not retrospectively approved by the Ministry. This resulted in the qualification of the 2013-14 accounts on the grounds of regularity. Due to the contractual nature of the payments, the OLC have continued making payments during 2014-15 as follows:

  • the payment of an extra-contractual ‘Total Remuneration Supplement’ to the Chief Executive and other senior members of staff (£33,236); and
  • payments made under a Flexible Benefits Scheme to the Chief Executive and all members of staff (£210,444).

The Ministry determined that the Chief Executive was not a fit and proper person to continue to hold the position of Accounting Officer and his accounting officer delegation was removed on 8 January 2015. The failure to maintain a high standard of financial management in relation to his own expenses was a significant factor in this decision. He was suspended as Chief Executive on 19 November 2014. Following a disciplinary hearing, the Chief Executive was dismissed with notice, and his contract ended on 17 May 2015.

Following the year end, the OLC undertook a review of governance and financial controls which was completed in December 2015. It now has an action plan in place to address the recommendations of the review.

Read the full report

2014-15 Accounts of the Office of Legal Complaints

Notes for editors

for Editors
  1. Press notices and reports are available from the date of publication on the NAO website. Hard copies can be obtained by using the relevant links on our website.
  2. The National Audit Office scrutinises public spending for Parliament and is independent of government. The Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG), Sir Amyas Morse KCB, is an Officer of the House of Commons and leads the NAO, which employs some 810 people. The C&AG certifies the accounts of all government departments and many other public sector bodies. He has statutory authority to examine and report to Parliament on whether departments and the bodies they fund have used their resources efficiently, effectively, and with economy. Our studies evaluate the value for money of public spending, nationally and locally. Our recommendations and reports on good practice help government improve public services, and our work led to audited savings of £1.15 billion in 2014.