The Key to Compliance: the SRA’s second annual event for COLPs and COFAs

The SRA set out plans to support small firms at the national conference for compliance officers in Birmingham last week

Chief Executive Paul Philip used his opening address to the 400 delegates at the conference to launch the discussion about the issues facing small law firms and what they intend to do to help. The SRA promised to improve further the support offered to smaller firms as set out in their regulatory reform programme in May this year

Paul Philip said: “Small firms play a really important part in the provision of good legal services and we want to do everything we can to provide support. We are committed to making sure that our regulation works for all types of firm and to do that we need to be much more approachable and accessible.

“I am asking small firms to tell us what would work for you, to join our virtual reference group and to use the additional services we are offering.”

Prior to the conference the SRA had published an update to the Risk Outlook 2015. The Outlook provides firms and consumers with a clear view of our assessment of significant trends in the legal services market. It also profiles key risks and explains what is meant by each of them, why they are significant and the regulatory approaches to managing them.

The SRA Chief Executive, said: “We cannot totally eliminate risk, the purpose of the Outlook is to ensure all firms are aware of the risks they may face and help them to plan ahead.

“In response to interest expressed by firms about particular topics, we have also produced two papers to accompany the update. They deal with anti-money laundering around which we have already launched a campaign to raise awareness – and bogus firms

“As always, we’d urge firms to look at the Outlook and the supporting papers and apply the information they contain to their firm accordingly.”

The Risk Outlook is produced by reviewing the current legal services market to understand better the drivers of risk to the regulatory objectives. Risks are prioritised and placed into two categories – current and priority. The Outlook forms part of the overall approach to risk management. In December 2012, the SRA published the Regulatory Risk Framework to explain how it identifies, assesses and controls risks to the delivery of the right regulatory outcomes for consumers of legal services. The SRA has also published the Regulatory Risk Index within the Framework, which provides an overview of all the regulatory risks it manages.

David Thorpe – Financial Eye

1st December 2014

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