The move by the Solicitors Regulation Authority to embrace entity-based and outcomes-focused regulation is hard to understand, major new research commissioned by the Legal Services Board and Law Society has claimed.
A Law Society survey finding that a growing number of senior solicitors think outcome-focused regulation places too heavy a burden on firms has drawn a rapid rebuttal from the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
A number of positives are revealed in a recent survey conducted by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Most notably, a year after the implementation of outcomes-focused regulation (OFR) and perhaps understandably, firms’ attitudes are shifting towards greater levels of acceptance as they increase their experience of working with the new regime of regulation. Measuring the impact of OFR on firms, released last week, found that 50% of respondents felt ‘favourable’ about OFR, a welcome increase on the previous year’s 36%. However, that still leaves the other 50% to be convinced.
Nearly half of solicitors’ firms are not clear what regulatory outcomes they are expected to deliver, a survey on outcomes-focused regulation (OFR) has found – despite more than four out five people questioned being those responsible for ensuring compliance.
An outcomes-focused, risk-based approach to regulating the activities of most lawyers who deliver legal services in a post-Legal Services Act landscape is a fact of life. Yet you still don’t have to go far to find solicitors who either fail to grasp the concept or hanker after the old, detailed rules-based system. The degree of non-acceptance is profound, more than a year after outcomes-focused regulation came in – in October 2011. So persistent is it that the SRA may be relying on the insertion of compliance officers for legal practice and financial administration (COLPs and COFAs) into the fabric of every firm to help change attitudes.
There are widespread failures among law firms to comply with a host of key regulatory requirements, from their websites to the Bribery Act, new research seen exclusively by Legal Futures has shown. The figures indicate that there is simply too much for small firms to comply with, according to its author.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority will next month launch its own version of the government’s Red Tape Challenge, chairman Charles Plant announced yesterday at the official opening of the authority’s new headquarters in Birmingham.
Posted by Barbara Hamilton-Bruce, director of operations at Accident Advice Helpline: I regularly sit down with people from teams across the business to talk about the performance of law firms on our panel and firms that have made enquiries about membership. One of the agenda subjects is ‘quality’. It’s a hard thing to define but generally we are asking ourselves ‘does what we have learnt since the last meeting that may change our view of any of our panel firms, past or present?’. We talk about many things but pay a lot of attention to customer feedback, good and bad.
A report on the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s pilot on supervision of low and medium-risk firms has concluded that the regulatory risks posed by participating firms fell during the period of supervision. Feedback from the firms involved was “overwhelmingly positive”.
There is broad support for an outcomes-focused approach to implementing the ban on referral fees in personal injury cases, according to early indications from the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s consultation on the issue.