A sneak peak at the new Risk Outlook

Every year we produce a Risk Outlook to outline priority risks to the public, the effective administration of justice, and the rule of law. Firms can use the Risk Outlook, and the tools that sit alongside it, to help manage their own risks.

This year’s Risk Outlook will have more tailored content than ever, with updates to our priority risks online tool and the small firms section accompanied by five all-new short videos. This month’s blog gives you a taster of the new Risk Outlook, which will be available on www.sra.org.uk/risk from 25 July 2016.

New risk—access to legal services

We have added a new risk this year. The Risk Outlook has previously only discussed the risks facing people who use legal services—not the barriers preventing people from accessing these services. So this year, for the first time, we have included lack of access to legal services as a priority risk.

We know that people benefit when they get professional legal advice—people who get independent advice about a legal problem are more satisfied with the outcome than those who do not. However, we also know there are many people who do not get the legal help they need—a Legal Services Board survey recently found that less than one in three people with a legal problem sought independent advice. Put another way, the potential customer base for law firms could be three time as big as it is now! We believe that solicitors are well placed to help people access justice, and this chapter will explain how we are making it easier for firms to offer services in new ways to help meet this unmet need.

Information security: cybercrime and bogus firms

We have previously presented two different chapters on the risks of bogus firms and cybercrime. These two risks are now so closely linked that we have combined them into one must-read chapter on information security risks.

We monitor the number of web hits on our priority risks online tool, and cybercrime is by far the most popular with readers. This comes as no surprise, as cybercrimes continue to rise against a backdrop of overall falling crime, and we know law firms want to ensure that their clients’ money and information are protected. This chapter contains the latest cybercrime trends and is full of top tips on cyber security. The SRA also publish scam alerts to warn you about people who call themselves solicitors but are not.

Scanning the horizon

We have also added a horizon scanning section to some of our risks, looking at how future changes to regulation and the market could affect these risks. This should help you understand more about how the regulatory changes we have proposed in our ‘Looking to the future’ consultation could impact on our priority risks.

New ways to engage—periscope

Finally, as I mentioned in last month’s blog, this year we are going to produce five short videos to explain some of the risks in the Risk Outlook. Using Periscope, the Twitter video streaming app, you catch watch short video summaries of different risks. To view the videos there is no need to register or sign up, and it’s all free of charge. All you need is a Twitter account and to follow @sra_solicitors. The videos will then appear directly in your Twitter feed. And do not worry if you can not tune in on the day—all the videos will be available to watch for free after they are broadcast.

Periscope timetable

Monday 25 July: The Risk Outlook—five things you need to know

Tuesday 26 July: Information security—five things you need to know

Wednesday 27 July : Access to legal services—five things you need to know

Thursday 28 July: Money laundering and protecting client money—five things you need to know

Friday 29 July: Standard of service and vulnerability—five things you need to know

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