Commenting on the latest OIC data (for September-November 2021), published today (8 December) Matthew Maxwell Scott, executive director of ACSO (Association of Consumer Support Organisations), said:
“While much of the broader trend data is unremarkable, it is becoming ever-clearer that the ‘user-friendly’ OIC portal promised by ministers is complex, legalistic and difficult for claimants to use without professional support. Unrepresented claimants remain fewer than one in ten of the total, and one in three of those then exit the portal because they find it too complex. These numbers do not support the view that this is a process that is fit for purpose.
“Added to this is that there’s been a significant, month-on-month increase in the number of litigants in person asking the portal support centre for help, while calls from professional representatives have dropped sharply. This suggests that while professionals are getting used to using the portal, LIPs simply are not. This may be a good time for ministers to revisit the 68-page portal user guide, which I described as ‘legal treacle’ when it was published earlier this year.”
“If LIPs do proceed to court, the evidence is that they take up more court time because they need to learn as they litigate. The civil courts are required to assist in some cases which could make them take longer to complete, adding to already unacceptable delays.”
Maxwell Scott also noted that 64 per cent of claims during the latest period were for mixed injuries (injuries covered by the tariff and non-tariff injuries). “That remains a high percentage and underlines the need for the Judiciary to determine how mixed injuries will be treated under the new regime. We repeat our call for this issue to be dealt with as a matter of urgency to provide clarity for all injured people.”