The SRA Code of Conduct
The introduction of the SRA Code of Conduct in October 2011 ushered in an entirely new approach to regulation by the SRA. Introduced as a response to the creation of Alternative Business Structures by the Legal Services Act, and intended by the SRA to create a 'level playing field' as between the traditional profession and new entrants to the provision of legal services, the new Code offers up a number of challenges for firms of all sizes and profiles.
Outcomes Focused Regulation
The new Code is based on the principle of Outcomes Focused Regulation, or OFR. This approach sweeps aside the detailed prescription of earlier regulatory frameworks, replacing it with a series of Outcomes. These are mandatory, and firms must be able to demonstrate that they are delivering the Outcomes at all times. However, the new Code provides far less guidance than in the past, and it is largely the responsibility of regulated bodies to decide how best to achieve the Outcomes - providing firms with both more flexibility, and less certainty.
Web4Law, with its extensive experience in all regulatory and compliance matters, is able to assist firms in assessing how best to deliver the Outcomes and thus achieve compliance with the new Code. Please contact us to discuss your particular needs and circumstances.
Risk Assessment and the Greater Emphasis on Disclosure
The 2011 Code replaced the six Core Duties of the 2007 Code with ten new 'Principles'. Principle 8 requires firms to be run 'in accordance with sound risk management principles' and the SRA's new focus is very much on risk assessment and management.
This emphasis imposes far greater duties of disclosure on firms, and individuals, than was the case in the past. The new Authorisation Rules, and the creation of the offices of Compliance Officer for Legal Practice (COLP) and Compliance Officer for Finance and Administration (COFA) require firms to manage, monitor and disclose risk to their regulator.
Web4Law can assist with training and in devising and drafting appropriate risk management processes and procedures. We can also lighten the load for COLP's and COFA's, by assisting in the preparation of Compliance Plans, where appropriate. Please contact us for further details.
Web4Law has run training on risk management issues for many years, and can now also offer in-house training on the new SRA Code of Conduct. Please see our training pages for full details of our risk training courses, and how we can support your firm in this critical area.
Web4Law's Solicitors Compliance Service
Subscribers to our Solicitors Compliance Service (SCS) benefit from its associated annual compliance audit, access to training materials and frequent practice notes and updates to keep abreast of the shifting compliance landscape, and the requirements of the SRA Handbook. For further information, see our Solicitors Compliance Service pages.