A SCOTTISH Government-funded judicial watchdog has said she provides a “poor service” because of the limitations of the role and a lack of support.

Judicial Complaints Reviewer Gillian Thompson said her post does not meet the expectations of the public and called on Ministers to review the “relevance” of the job.

She also revealed that problems with an upgrade of her Government mobile phone had resulted in her not being able to take telephone calls.

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Created in 2008, the JCR reviews the handling of complaints against judges, sheriffs and justices of the peace.

Communications consultant Moi Ali was the first JCR and she battled to clarify the powers of the role and fought for the right to publish an annual review of her activities.

However, Thompson, a former civil servant who succeeded Ali in 2014, has attracted less favourable coverage.

It was reported last year that, two years on from becoming JCR, she had not published an annual report on her website.

Two reports, covering 2014/15 and 2015/16, are now available on the JCR website and the contents may make grim reading for supporters of the watchdog role.

In the latest document, Thompson, who is only contracted to work up to three days a month, flagged up the lack of time she can spend on being JCR:

“I remain of the view that managing a demand-led service within a restricted number of days inevitably means delay in responsiveness and inevitable concern and inconvenience for complainants.”

She added: “The singleton nature of the role together with the limited number of contracted days results in a poor service, relatively speaking."

She added, “Whilst the functions of the role meet the requirements of the legislation I doubt that they fully meet the expectations of those that use the service or the wider public.”

Like Ali before her, she also revealed how she only gets sight of some papers during her reviews: “I see only what is shared with me about the handling of complaints. In cases where an investigation is carried out by the Disciplinary Judge I do not automatically get access to all papers.”

On the future of the position she wrote: “I recommend that Scottish Ministers review the relevance of the role as it exists”.

Adding: “My feeling is that whilst I improved on the time taken to review cases I still did not provide a level of service that complainants expected.”

During 2015/16, she was paid a daily rate of £215 for 27 days and 14 days at £217, but added that she receives no IT or administrative support.

She also apologised to anyone who had tried to contact her by telephone this year: “A planned upgrade to the Blackberry provided by the Scottish Government has resulted in my being unable to take telephone calls. That situation is ongoing as I write.”

Scottish Tory MSP Liam Kerr said: “If even the JCR herself doesn’t think she’s doing a good job, what’s everyone else supposed to think? In fairness, her honesty is refreshing and is to be commended. She has been in place for some time and the remarks she makes are scathing both about the role itself and the support offered by the Scottish Government."

Scottish Labour MSP Claire Baker said: “The JCR is scathing of her role and firmly places the fault for this with the Scottish Government who have dramatically underfunded an important role which they created. It is clear that the JCR is not being provided with the necessary resources to do her job in the best interests of the public.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We welcome the publication of the Judicial Complaints Reviewer annual reports for 2014-15 and 2015-16. The role of the JCR is vital in independently reviewing the handling of complaints against members of the judiciary, remaining separate from both the Judicial Office for Scotland and the Scottish Government.”