Director of Best Practice Gary Yantin hosted the first continuing competence user group this week. Over 19 firms convened on a conference call to discuss how firms are implementing the SRA’s new approach to continuing competence, and to share best practice.
Early takeaway – Education is key
The firms on the call agreed that it is still early days for continuing competence and many solicitors haven’t even begun their 2016-2017 learning plan. However the firms stressed that educating solicitors over the next month on the new requirements is a key first step. There have been some creative education initiatives at firms, including ‘chair drops’ of learning material on every chair, small workshops and video tutorials.
Some of the other best practice recommendations that were shared were:
- Incentivise learning and development by tying it to remuneration
- Modify performance appraisals to include continuing competence
- When enrolling a solicitor in a course or suggesting training – also suggest some SRA competencies that are related to that training (Note: all VinciWorks courses are mapped to continuing competence)
Many of the firms on the call are already using the VinciWorks Continuing Competence Module to track compliance.
Support staff and continuing competence
Many of the firms agreed that support staff should also go through the reflective learning process and keep ‘continuing competence’ records. They cited SRA Principle 5 which states that a firm must deliver a “proper level of service”. This level of service is expected of both fee earners and support staff.
The group agreed that a competence statement for support staff would be useful but does not yet exist.
Joining the user group
VinciWorks will be conducting regular user groups on a variety of topics to facilitate the sharing of ideas between firms. Most of meetings will be over GoToMeeting and only take about an hour. If you would like to participate in a future meeting, email director of Best Practice, Gary Yantin.