News releases

SRA decisions on busy Board agenda

The SRA Board considered the following items at its meeting on 24 April 2013:

Independent Complaints Resolution Service – Annual Report:

The Board noted the Independent Complaints Review Service's (ICRS) second annual report, which shows that complaint handling at the SRA has improved since 2010 particularly at stage 1, the key stage in the complaint handling process. The ICRS acts as the final stage of the SRA's complaints procedure. See news release.

Red Tape Initiative Two:

The Board approved a second consultation on reducing bureaucratic processes, which will be launched in May. The consultation proposes removal of the requirement on COLPs and COFAs in Recognised Bodies and Recognised Sole Practitioners to report non-material breaches as part of the annual information gathering exercise. The second proposal relates to solicitors and European lawyers who are required to declare certain events, such as disciplinary sanctions, under Regulation 3.1. See news release.

Equality and diversity: thematic study report:

The Board considered the results of a 2012 workforce diversity thematic review. The report sets out the findings from the review carried out with 90 firms, who were asked to feed back on how they were meeting the five equality and diversity outcomes in Chapter 2 of the Code of Conduct, and about the requirement to collect workforce diversity data. Findings from the thematic study included a number of case studies which will help to guide the SRA's approach to firms in the future in encouraging compliance.

See news release which also covers the results of the 2012 workforce diversity data collection exercise.

Professional Indemnity Insurers' Agreement:

The Board approved a paper outlining changes to the Qualifying Insurer's Agreement and the SRA's regulatory arrangements in order to implement the third stage of the SRA's financial protection policy which will come into effect on 1 October 2013. The key changes include removal of the Assigned Risk Pool provisions. See the Board paper.

Interventions:

The Board were asked to consider the increased cost of interventions which could not be accommodated within the current SRA Budget. The options for further funding were: funding from the Law Society; a one-off call from the profession; or using the SRA's statutory power to use the Compensation Fund. The recommendation was to use the Compensation Fund and launch a consultation for this change to take effect in the autumn of 2013.

The Board referred the decision to the Standards Committee to approve. See the Board paper.

Results of the Consultation on International Practice:

The Board noted the results of the consultation on international practice which took place between 12 December 2012-14 March 2013. The general view, among the 17 responses received, was that the consultation document represented a useful step forward in how the SRA planned to regulate overseas practice, but further refinement is required. This is now underway. See the Board paper.

View SRA Board papers for 24 April 2013.