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SRA on hunt for ‘strategy and innovation’ director

SRA: Looking for strategic guidance

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is set to appoint a new executive director for strategy and innovation, with applications for the post closing tomorrow.

The restyled post fills a hole for a policy specialist in the SRA’s senior management team (SMT) after two left in the space of three months – first Crispin Passmore at the end of last year and then his replacement, Richard Collins [1].

Mr Passmore had been director of policy and Mr Collins director for strategy and resources. Following Mr Passmore’s departure, Mr Collins became the director leading on policy, education and anti-money laundering, with nobody filling the strategy role.

The new director for strategy and innovation will oversee 40 staff. The salary is not stated; chief executive Paul Philip received £348,000 for the year to 31 July 2018, the most recent accounts show, with the executive team as a whole receiving £1.57m.

They will join four other executive directors on the SMT – Liz Rosser (resources), Mark Draisey (modernising IT), Robert Loughlin (operations and performance) and Jane Malcolm (external and corporate affairs) – along with general counsel Juliet Oliver and Mr Philip.

According to the job specification [2], the new executive director will oversee “the development and monitoring of corporate strategy, lead the SRA’s work to understand, enable and respond to positive innovation in the legal sector and develop SRA thinking on leading-edge technological change and its application to the legal services market”.

This will include ensuring the SRA “fully understands the development and application of technology for both providers and consumers, including new technologies such as AI and learning algorithms, together with the implications of such technologies for the SRA’s regulatory model”.

Another task will be to manage and grow SRA Innovate, which supports firms looking thinking at new ways to serve clients or run their organisations that may come up against issues with the rules. Part of this is the innovation space, where the SRA grants waivers to help innovative ideas get off the ground.

Mr Passmore is now a consultant to the profession, and also sits on the board of the General Dental Council and WM Housing, chairing the audit and risk committees of each.

Last week, he was named an independent member of the Association of Consumer Support Organisations’ advisory committee.

Mr Collins left to join the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors as executive director of the profession.