News release

SRA launches consultation on continuing competence

A radical shift in the way in which the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) ensures the continuing competence of the entities and individuals it regulates is proposed in a consultation published today.

The paper takes forward the commitments made by the SRA in the Training for Tomorrow policy statement which announced plans to end the current "tick box" approach to continuing professional development (CPD) and replace it with a new approach to continuing competence which targets education and training requirements to areas of greatest risk.

The focus of the SRA's proposal is a new approach that is concerned, not with the training that has been undertaken, but whether the level of competence achieved is what consumers would expect and demand.

The approach proposes the removal of the requirement for solicitors to undertake prescribed CPD through specific regulations. Instead, non-mandatory guidance will be issued to both entities and individuals. However, the SRA is keen to emphasise that continuing professional development is central to securing good outcomes for consumers and that the question in the consultation is not whether CPD should be prescribed, but how best to ensure continuing competence. The consultation also sets out a range of other options for consideration.

Julie Brannan, Director of Education and Training, said: "Our role is to provide confidence to consumers of legal services that those we regulate are competent to deliver the standards they expect. By focusing more rigorously on competence we believe we can provide this assurance whilst increasing the flexibility for entities and individuals to determine training and development according to their own needs.

"We would like to hear the views from a wide range of stakeholders on our proposal."

The SRA is seeking comments on the consultation until 2 April 2014.

Go to consultation paper

 

Note to editors

The SRA will be running a series of roadshows and a webinar on the consultation in March, details of which will be on the SRA's website shortly.
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