The LSB report, ‘‘First-tier complaints handling, Implementation – Progress Review,” published in March, commends the Bar Standards Board (BSB) in changing its regulatory arrangements in line with the requirements of the Legal Services Act.

The BSB’s chambers monitoring scheme, which requires chambers to self-assess their complaints handling procedures, is singled out for particular praise. The report says the scheme “appears to be the most developed and comprehensive method of all the approved regulators for gathering information directly from those they regulate”.

BSB chair, Baroness Ruth Deech said: “We take our responsibility as a regulator seriously. Our monitoring process ensures that chambers and sole practitioners are aware of what is expected of them and encourages them to meet these standards. The scheme also enables us to gather compliance data from all chambers to ensure that regulatory action is targeted in the right areas, whilst highlighting best practice and those achieving excellence.

“We are not looking to point the finger, but to assist all chambers to meet the requirements.”

The report highlights some issues that are common to regulators across the sector, including concerns about capacity for data collection — and therefore ability to trace patterns in complaints handling — and assessment methodologies.

The LSB wants regulators to have effective monitoring processes in place so they can ensure consumers of legal services are able to have their complaints heard and problems resolved.

Dianne Hayter, chair of the Legal Services Consumer Panel, said: “Consumers are reluctant to complain due to a fear that lawyers will outsmart them and the profession will close ranks to protect its own. The finding that approved regulators’ generally have poor data collection processes is worrying. Without this information, it is difficult to see how they can really know what problems consumers are experiencing and take the necessary steps.”