LSB bolsters Legal Ombudsman with three new Board appointments

Today, the Legal Services Board (LSB) confirmed the appointment of three new members of the Board of the Office for Legal Complaints (OLC).

The OLC is the Board of the Legal Ombudsman, and the LSB has made these appointments in accordance with the Legal Services Act 2007.

Martin Spencer
Martin Spencer
Dale Simon CBE
Dale Simon CBE
Alison Sansome
Alison Sansome

Dale Simon CBE, a qualified barrister (not currently practising), is the Crown Prosecution Service’s former Director of Public Accountability and Inclusion. Alison Sansome, a former Chief Operating Officer at the Nursing and Midwifery Council, and Martin Spencer, a business transformation specialist, have been appointed as lay members (not legally qualified). They will help ensure the Board continues to bring a cross-section of experience and expertise to the Legal Ombudsman’s work.

Dr Helen Phillips, Chair of the Legal Services Board, said:

‘I am pleased with the high calibre of these appointments to the Board of the Office for Legal Complaints. Alison, Dale and Martin bring a wide range of experience and expertise that will further bolster the OLC as it implements its plans to transform the service it offers to complainants and the legal services profession.

‘I would like to thank Rod for his commitment and invaluable contribution to the ongoing development of the Legal Ombudsman.’

Elisabeth Davies, Chair of the Office for Legal Complaints said:

‘This is such a critically important time to be joining the OLC.  Staff are being recruited, joining an existing workforce that feels more engaged in the Legal Ombudsman’s future, and monthly case closures have continued to exceed pre-pandemic levels.  Whilst this last year has been about stabilising and starting to rebuild confidence, this year is about delivering improvement at pace.  In recognising the progress that has been made there is not an ounce of complacency about the work that is required to continue to build confidence in the Legal Ombudsman.

‘I am grateful for the dedication of outgoing Board members. Together with the existing Board and new leadership team, they have been willing to honestly and visibly set a new direction for the scheme.  A direction that Dale, Alison and Martin will now continue to oversee and support.’

The requirement for this recruitment round was to appoint three (two lay; one non-lay) OLC Board members as follows:

  • One non-lay member to replace Rebecca Hilsenrath, who resigned from the OLC Board in March 2021.
  • One lay member to replace Rod Bulmer, who retires from the OLC Board at the end of July 2021.
  • A further lay member, to take the OLC Board to eight members, the maximum number permitted by the Legal Services Act, on the basis of the Board’s need for resilience at this time of change and challenge.
  • Dale has been appointed as a non-lay member for an initial term of three years, from 1 August 2021 to 31 July 2024. Alison has been appointed for an initial term of three years, from 1 August 2021 to 31 July 2024. Martin has been appointed for an initial term of four years, from 1 August 2021 to 31 July 2025.


Alison Sansome

Alison’s current non-executive portfolio focuses on continuous improvement, high quality customer service and good regulation. It includes Board level roles at: the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), the Regulatory Tribunal for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the Fire Standards Board (Vice Chair), the Employment Tribunal (E&W) and the Code Adjudication Panel for the Phone-paid Service Authority (PSA). Alison has also provided support on coaching over several years, to a Leadership Development Programme at the Council of Deans for Health.

Until 2017 Alison was the Chief Operating Officer (COO) at the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), having a broad remit covering the registration and complaints functions as well as all business delivery aspects of the organisation. Previously as Senior Programme Director at Hewlett Packard (HP), Alison led delivery of significant IT systems to enhance operational performance. Prior to that as a Senior Civil Servant and Board member in an MOD Executive Agency, she led delivery of a technology enabled transformation programme, and subsequently led highly sensitive operational delivery of services to support injured military personnel and bereaved families.

Dale Simon CBE

Dale is qualified barrister (not currently practicing) and was awarded a CBE for services to equality and diversity in 2013. Her most recent executive role was in the Crown Prosecution Service as Director of Public Accountability and Inclusion and prior to this she was Head of the Office for Judicial Complaints. A large part of her executive career was spent in the CPS as a prosecutor. She has served as a Non-Executive Director at the Parole Board, and has experience as a charity Trustee and Chair on the Board of Standing Together Against Domestic Violence.

Dale is currently a panel member on the House of Commons Independent Expert Panel (hearing appeals and determining sanction in cases of serious misconduct by MPs), an independent panel member for the Department for Education’s National Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel; and a lay chair of Fitness to Practice hearings at the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Martin Spencer

Martin is a business transformation specialist by background, having managed KPMG Consulting’s Workforce and Change practice. Until recently, he was Senior Vice President at NTT DATA, one of the world’s largest providers of customer experience and digital transformation programmes. Prior to this, Martin held senior executive roles at Capgemini (Senior Vice President) and Detica (Partner). Martin has been the senior industry responsible executive for digital transformation programmes at: the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants; Charity Commission of England and Wales; and for a retail banking Wealth Management business. Martin also led the delivery of a £50m per annum contract to provide services to the Metropolitan Police, and was contract director for the supply of IT services to the Environment Agency.

Martin currently holds a non-executive portfolio which includes: NED and Chair of the Audit and Risk Assurance  Committee, Ofsted; NED and chair of the Remuneration and Nomination Committee, NHS Counter Fraud Authority; NED and member of the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee, Companies House; NED and member of the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee, Serious Fraud Office; NED and member of the Audit and Risk Committee, Criminal Cases Review Commission.