Chief Ombudsman

Legal Ombudsman

Birmingham, with flexible working

  • Location

    Birmingham, with flexible working

  • Job type


  • Sector


  • Salary/Remuneration

    Up to £120,000

  • Job ref


  • Expiry date

    30 July 2020

  • Client

    Legal Ombudsman

Ref: GSe65749

“Legal Ombudsman needs to shape up”

This recent headline in the Times highlighted the fact that it has been a challenging few years for the Legal Ombudsman (LeO) and the article outlined the critical operational performance issues facing the scheme. While we are proud to report some good progress through our modernisation programme and other key initiatives, we are keenly aware there is still much to be done.

As an independent body, LeO’s role is to provide consumers with a service that is modern, responsive and efficient. At the heart of this is the need to give people confidence in the services they use at the most significant points in their life - buying a new house, dealing with a separation and access to children, dealing with employment disputes. Our work is varied and we deliver our services in a multi-faceted and rapidly changing external landscape through our team of 250 staff at a single site and with a total budget expenditure of 13 million. 

Our current Chief Ombudsman, Rebecca Marsh, will be leaving in October to take up a new role as the Property Ombudsman and, in response to this and to the operational performance issues facing the scheme, the senior leadership team has been restructured to strengthen leadership and capability. Unless LeO has good and valued people it will not be able to deliver the quality of service that is necessary and we are looking for a Chief Ombudsman who is committed to both performance and people. He or she will have a clearer responsibility for ensuring a stronger external focus, providing more effective feedback to the sector and learning the lessons from the complaints handled by LeO.  Our governance is complex – with lines of accountability to both the Ministry of Justice and the Legal Services Board and our new Chief Ombudsman will enable us to manage this and help us make the most of the opportunities it presents.  They will receive increased support for delivery of the actual business through a new Chief Operating Officer – a position we are recruiting to in parallel with this.

This is no ordinary leadership role and we are looking for an extraordinary leader, with a track record of achievement working at board level in a complex organisation, together with the proven ability to set clear strategic direction and vision and to inspire and motivate diverse teams and nurture talent. With a transformational mindset, you will have successfully delivered system wide change and performance improvement at a national level and will bring a demonstrable track record of challenging, persuading and influencing at the highest levels in government, regulators, business leaders, the media and with a range of other cross-sector audiences. Whilst not essential, a knowledge of and senior level networks within the Legal Services and Ombudsman sectors would be an advantage.

This will be a demanding role, and you will need to demonstrate high levels of personal resilience in managing competing pressures. You will bring outstanding judgement and the ability to engender a culture of achievement and continuous improvement. Politically astute, with a demonstrable commitment to high standards of public service delivery, you will be a collaborative team builder, with outstanding interpersonal, communication and influencing skills and the credibility and authority to take on a key national strategic leadership position, which offers the unique opportunity to take an organisation through the next challenging, but critical stage in its development.

Please note, the Chief Ombudsman must be Lay as defined in Schedule 1 paragraphs 2(4) and (5) of the Legal Services Act 2007, so cannot hold any form of legal qualification.   

Closing Date12 noon Friday 31 July 2020
Longlist Meetingw/c Monday 10 August 2020
Preliminary Interviewsw/c Monday 24 August 2020
Shortlist Meetingw/c Monday 31 August 2020
Final Panel Intervieww/c Monday 14 September 2020
How to apply

The Chief Ombudsman will be selected on the basis of a combination of written application and interview.

To apply for this post, please submit:

  • A comprehensive CV (no more than two sides of A4).
  • A detailed supporting statement that addresses the Essential and Desirable Criteria as set out in the Person Specification as far as you are able (no more than two sides of A4) and take care to provide evidence and examples. Skills, abilities, and personal characteristics will be tested at interview, if your application is progressed.
  • Details of two referees whom we would be able to contact at shortlist stage. Referees will not be contacted without your prior permission.

If you have any queries about any aspect of the appointment process, need additional information or wish to have an informal and confidential discussion, then Katrina Paget, Jemima Dalgliesh, or Gemma Heron would be pleased to take your call on 0113 205 6105. GatenbySanderson will respect the privacy of any initial approach or expression of interest in this role, whether formal or informal.

Contact details
Gemma Heron: 07964 826 291