CQS Standards Changes 2022

The changes to the Core Practice Management Standard (CPMS) were published in February this year and took effect from 1 May 2022. Making a comparison between the previous CPMS and the new updated version is tricky and as such we have broken down the areas of change and the effect that these have.

What has changed?

New Core Practice Management Standards

  • The new Core Practice Management Standards were updated on 23rd February 2022 and published in, early March, with an effective date of 1st May 2022.
  • Any firms applying for the accreditation for the first time and annual reaccreditation must be able to meet the Standards from 1st May 2022 onwards.

What do firms need to do?

1. Familiarise yourself with the three values of the Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS):

  • members proactively and effectively manage risk and demonstrate behaviours that support and promote the integrity of CQS and the community
  • members demonstrate best practice and excellence in client care through robust practice management of residential conveyancing
  • members demonstrate thorough knowledge and skill in handling conveyancing transactions

2. Familiarise yourself with the new Core Practice Management Standards (CPMS)
We’ve compiled a comparison table below with some of the key changes included, but you must read through the whole CQS Core Practice Management Standard to ensure your compliance. This note is not exhaustive, nor a guarantee of compliance. This remains the responsibility of the practice.

3. Make any necessary changes to your firm’s policies, controls and procedures (PCPs) and ensure additional training is provided to your staff on the changes, noting both the effective date and the potential assessment regime in place, particularly at your CQS renewal.

When do firms need to be compliant by?

1st May 2022 is the effective date for compliance to the new CQS CPMS.

The Law Society introduction states:

“We’ll also be introducing a small number of on-site visits each year and increasing the number of desk-based assessments to ensure you’re equipped and able to achieve the values of CQS at the same time.

We’ll help to support you in embedding a culture of continuous improvement by issuing corrective action reports after on-site visits.

We’ll also be sharing best practice tips with the wider CQS community.”

Legal Eye observations

Please note that we are have made the following observations from the Law Society website, so it is advised to be mindful of the following:

  • Nothing has currently changed in the comparison chart between Lexcel and CQS – it is still dated March 2019
  • The CQS Toolkit remains as published 3rd Edition June 2019 with no date available from the Law Society on when an updated version will be ready.
  • The Guidance Notes published beneath each section of the CPMS have been expanded based on the initial trial CQS audit visits and set out what a CQS auditor is expecting to see. You must carefully read and consider if your existing PCPs are adequate and evaluate the levels of awareness demonstrated by your staff of your PCPs and CQS.

How has the structure of the CPMS changed?

The CPMS has increased from 5 sections to 7 and mirrors the framework provided under Lexcel.

Where you see the word:

 “must = this is a mandatory requirement.

should = this is an optional requirement. Practices may be required to explain why they have chosen not to implement a requirement.

2022 Standard2019 Standard
Section 1: Structure and StrategySection 1: Risk Management
Section 2: Financial ManagementSection 2: Financial Management
Section 3: Information ManagementSection 3: Supervision and operational risk management
Section 4: People ManagementSection 4: Client Care
Section 5: Risk ManagementSection 5: File and Case Management
Section 6: Client Care
Section 7: File and Case Management

Key changes to the CPMS

Download comparison table (PDF)

CQS Gap Analysis

Legal Eye are offering firms a gap analysis so that management can clearly see where there are holes in the firm’s current systems vis a vis the new standards.

Available as a one-off purchase, a gap analysis is the ideal way for firms to create an action plan that will ensure the firm is compliant. Find out more here.

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