The Law Society has approved a £22m outlay on a new IT system for the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) that will hit solicitors in their practising certificate fees, Legal Futures can reveal.
The society’s ruling council backed the SRA’s call for the cash, which we reported exclusively last month (see story ). The “Enabling Programme”, which will support the move to risk-based regulation by providing better data, also offers benefits to the representative Law Society. The aim is for it to be up and running by the end of 2011.
The cost of the system was initially estimated last year at around £14 million and Law Society chief executive Des Hudson told Legal Futures that there had been “concern” at the subsequent increase. “We put a lot of time into it to understand why [the request had grown],” he said.
Mr Hudson confirmed that the society does have the money to pay for the system over the next two years – “we don’t approve things we don’t have the money for”. It will, however, mean that “other things we would have been doing” will go on the backburner, and that without these costs “the practising certificate fee would be going down a lot more”.
Budget figures goes to the next council meeting reveal that the SRA is expecting to realise £3.5 million of benefits from the Enabling Programme over the next three years.