News releases

Success for SRA event on new approach to regulation

Lord Herman Ouseley speaking at the event

Lord Herman Ouseley speaking at the event

Around 130 delegates attended a free event in London this week to hear how the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s new outcomes-focused regulation (OFR) and the introduction of ABS will affect them and to pose questions about their concerns.

"Outcomes-focused regulation: opportunities for a diverse profession", was chaired by Lord Ouseley and featured presentations by SRA Chair Charles Plant, Chief Executive Antony Townsend and SRA Board members Stephen Whittle and Yvonne Brown.

The audience heard from Antony Townsend about the ten mandatory principles and the outcomes of the new Code of Conduct which put the focus on clients and the public interest, made best use of the SRA’s resources and gave the profession more freedom, while at the same time, more responsibility, to comply with regulation.

In addition, delegates learned about the latest progress on the SRA’s equality framework and the work of the External Implementation Group (EIG), which had jointly organised the event, and the future challenges which lay ahead.

Lord Ouseley praised the SRA for the hard work and positive changes the organisation had achieved over the last three years and the efforts it had made, and continued to make, to engage with the profession and the public.

Delegates joined workshops led by senior managers and two external speakers—Martin Wyatt of Face2Face Solicitors, and Nick Jarrett-Kerr of NJK Law Firm Strategy & Management Consulting—to learn in more detail about the SRA’s new supervisory approach and compliance requirements under OFR; the potential for small businesses and sole practitioners within the alternative business structure framework; and how enforcement procedures would be taken forward—as well as taking part in an interactive discussion to raise queries.

In summing up the meeting, Charles Plant thanked Lord Ouseley for his valuable contribution in working with the SRA over the past three years to address the disproportionate number of black and minority ethic (BME) solicitors appearing in regulatory decisions, and to ensure decisions were fair to all individuals and group regardless of their ethnic background. He said that the SRA is making significant headway on various fronts, including

  • overhauling the decision-making processes and principles to ensure fairness, transparency and freedom from bias,
  • improving the diversity of employees, adjudicators, and board and committee members,
  • introducing a programme to embed equality and diversity in the new authorisation, supervision and enforcement functions, including training on equality and diversity,
  • intensifying engagement with BME solicitors and a diverse range of consumers,
  • improving complaints handing, including those relating to discrimination,
  • carrying out a pilot to look at equality and diversity within the profession to find out how best to supervise firms to improve best practice in this area,

and that they would continue forward on this solid foundation.

Mr Plant added that he believed the SRA’s new approach to authorisation, supervision and enforcement offered a real opportunity for firms of all sizes and backgrounds to prosper.

Print page to PDF