COLPs and COFAs
Compliance Officers for Legal Practice (COLPs) and Compliance Officers for Finance and Administration (COFAs) play a key role in the SRA's regime of outcomes-focused regulation, aimed at producing the most appropriate outcomes for consumers of legal services. The COLP and COFA is instrumental in creating a culture of compliance throughout a firm, becoming its focal point for the identification of risk, and the key point of contact for the SRA.
Through COLPs and COFAs, the SRA is promoting the benefits of closer working between the regulator and those who are regulated.
The key to compliance: First annual SRA conference for COLPs and COFAs
The SRA's first ever conference for compliance officers took place on 16 October 2013 at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole Hotel.
For the benefit of COLPs and COFAs who were unable to attend the conference, and as a permanent resource for those who were, video recordings of all four plenary sessions are available, along with a range of presentation slides, Q&A and case studies from the seven themed conference workshops.
What is a COLP and COFA?
The COLP and COFA have responsibility for the firm's systems and controls. They are responsible for ensuring processes are in place to enable the firm, its managers and employees, and anyone who has any interest in the firm to comply with the SRA Handbook.
The roles of COLP and COFA are an integral part of our move to outcomes-focused regulation and key to our aim that firms will take responsibility for managing risks to their delivery of legal services.
COLPs and COFAs must be fit and proper to undertake their roles.
Responsibilities of COLPs and COFAs
At the heart of the compliance officer roles are risk management and proper governance.
As part of the move to outcomes-focused regulation, all firms and recognised sole practitioners are required to nominate a COLP and a COFA. They will ensure your firm has systems and controls to enable you to comply with regulatory requirements. It is essential that you have the right individuals in place to perform these key roles.
COLPS and COFAs will be expected to take all reasonable steps to fulfill a range of duties.
Recording and reporting
Recording all breaches and reporting material breaches are critical aspect sof the role of compliance officers.
Nominating COLPs and COFAs
Here we explain how to change a COLP or COFA, what to do if a COLP or COFA withdraws consent to fulfill that role and the steps you need to take when a postholder is absent. There is also information on the importance of consents and declarations.
We have selected case studies that should be of specific interest to compliance officers. We will add to these periodically.
Compliance News is our e-newsletter for compliance officers. COLPs and COFAs receive the newsletter automatically—we hope it will become one of our key channels for communicating with you.
If you are not a compliance officer but wish to receive it, please subscribe to our mailing list.
The SRA regularly attends key conferences and stakeholder events across the country. These keynote speeches will be of interest to you.
Many of the news releases we issue will be of interest to COLPs and COFAs.
A selection of other publications will be useful resources for COLPs and COFAs.
Events and webinars
The SRA regularly holds events and webinars, many of which are likely to be of interest to you.
More help for COLPs and COFAs
As a COLP or COFA, you may have questions relating to your role. We hope these frequently asked questions, which we will update as required, help.
These questions and answers may help you fulfill your role or answer some of the issues you are facing.
Please use www.sra.org.uk/complianceofficers to link to this page.