The Co-operative Group is to create 3,000 new jobs in the legal sector through a continued expansion in the range of services it offers.
The group announced that the jobs will be based at Co-operative Legal Services, which it said will create the largest consumer law business in the country.
Group chief executive Peter Marks said that over the next five years Co-operative Legal Services, which currently operates out of Bristol employing around 450 staff, would open five additional regional hubs across England and Wales and set up a new family law operation in London later this year.
He also confirmed that the group will extend its trial of legal and funeral planning services through 30 branches of the Co-operative Bank and Britannia to encompass all 330 high street branches.
He said: "We already have a first class reputation for delivering professional services. We see the law as yet another area where a Co-operative solution can be successfully applied for the customer's benefit.
"Over the next five years we want to fundamentally change the face of legal services and make access far easier - today's announcement underlines that ambition.
"We intend to be totally customer focused and will help customers navigate the legal world so that they are much more comfortable with the experience and the outcomes.
"It is envisaged that about 90% of the roles being created will be actual legal functions, with 10% made up of support staff.
"We are particularly keen to use our expansion as a way to offer opportunities to young people. Legal apprenticeships and opportunities for study leave will form an important part of this major employment opportunity."
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- 3. PPI scam
<span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 12pt;">As if the mis-selling of payment protection insurance (PPI) wasn't scandal enough, 2012 has seen fraudsters preying on PPI victims. Consumers have received phone calls from someone who knows their name, announcing that they have won their PPI claim. The caller may also know the lender's name and an estimate of the loan amount.</span></p>
<span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 12pt;">However, the caller will then request a payment from the consumer in order to receive their compensation. This should signal warning bells, but many innocent victims have fallen for the scam and parted with money only for the bogus firm to disappear with their cash, and of course the compensation that never existed.</span></p>
Consumers should be wary of all cold calls, particularly those that request cash upfront. There is no need to pay to make a claim for mis-sold PPI – you can claim direct to your bank for free and receive free advice from debt charities like Citizens Advice and the Consumer Credit Counselling Service.</p>
<span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 12pt;">If you do choose to take on the assistance of a claims management firm – never agree to an upfront payment. Reputable firms will only request payment for their services once you have received your compensation from your lender either by cheque or by payment into your bank account.</span></p>
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