After months of waiting, the SRA has finally published the wording for the annual declaration required under its new approach to continuing competence:
“I have reflected on my practice and addressed any identified learning and development needs.”
The declaration is made on the Practising Certificate Renewal Exercise (PCRE) forms. Either individual solicitors, or entities who complete the PCRE in bulk, can make the declaration.
The SRA will monitor PCRE forms to identify those solicitors who have not confirmed that they have reflected on their practice and addressed learning and development needs. They will use this information, along with other information they hold or receive, to explore concerns that they may have with the competence or standard of service provided by a solicitor.
Solicitors who have chosen to move to the new approach this year will make their first declaration (for the 2014-2015 practice year) in October 2016. In October 2017, there will be no declaration required for 2015-2016 as the SRA shifts to align the declaration with the current PCRE year. In that year a declaration will be required by all solicitors for the new approach for the 2016-2017 year. Despite the fact that no declaration will be required for the 2015-2016 year, this does not remove the regulatory responsibility for all solicitors either to comply with the old approach by doing 16 hours CPD or to adopt the new approach.
As a reminder, under the new approach, a solicitor must:
- Reflect on the quality of your practice by reference to the Competence Statement
- Plan and address learning and development needs based on the reflection
- Record and evaluate the learning activity
- Make an annual declaration to confirm you have completed the above
In a poll we conducted on 2nd April we found that over 50% of firms plan to adopt the new approach early (either this year or next year). However, in recent conversations with firms, we found that some firms were discouraged from actually adopting the new approach due to the fact that they had not seen the final wording of the annual declaration.
How to adopt the new approach?
VinciWorks has recently released an update to its Compliance Learning Management System that enables firms to comply with the SRA’s changes to CPD:
Background presentation – the SRA’s new approach