SRA sets record straight on consumer focus
30 July 2012
The new Outcomes-Focused Regulation regime is the clearest of indicators that the needs of clients have been embedded into the regulation of solicitors, the SRA has said.
The Authority has drawn attention to the re-writing of the Solicitors Code of Conduct for the launch of OFR in October as evidence of its commitment to consumers. And the SRA is reinforcing this commitment with a raft of consumer engagement and empowerment activities.
Antony Townsend, SRA Chief Executive, said: "As we stressed when we launched outcomes-focused regulation, it puts the consumer at the heart of legal services. The Handbook that we provide to the regulated community to guide their work provides the framework for this customer-focused approach.
"We realise that there is more to be done, but we are confident we are making good progress. We continue to brief the LSCP on our work, and I think they would recognise that there's a lot going on.”
The SRA attended a meeting arranged by the Panel to highlight both the consumer engagement and consumer empowerment strategy, and it invited Panel members to its offices for an awareness day of the SRA's work earlier this year.
Among the successes and work not picked up in the Panel's report were:
- The SRA's current research project into vulnerable consumers, which began in May and looks at how a diverse range of consumers can get the right information to understand and benefit from legal services
- An accompanying series of consumer focus events, which kicked off in Leicester and more recently in Llandudno, which aims to discover how the public accesses legal services, and which will take in numerous towns and cities across England and Wales in the next year
- Engaging with not-for-profit organisations that support disabled people through the Legal Services Disability Forum, which has already resulted in the SRA supporting an information project alongside Scope
- Revamping of the consumer content on the SRA website, including the addition of YouTube video clips, jargon busters, alerts and community languages, resulting in month-on-month visit increases and web traffic, and increased page duration times
- The report on those with hearing impairments accessing legal services, which produced immediate results through the Law Society issuing a new Practice Note on supporting deaf consumers. The SRA has also supported deaf awareness initiatives by RAD Legal Services and Rethink