SRA takes first step to streamline training regulations
27 November 2013
The SRA today took the first step to remove the prescriptive requirements of the training contract and replace them with a more targeted approach to ensuring solicitors have the skills to deliver high quality legal services.
Members of the SRA Board agreed to consult on training contract proposals for inclusion in the forthcoming SRA consultation on the review of the SRA Training Regulations, which will be published in early December.
Final approval of the changes should go to the SRA Board next spring, with changes to the Handbook made in May or June. This will enable them to be implemented in time for the 2014 academic year.
Director of Education and Training, Julie Brannan said: "This is the first in a programme of changes announced in our Training for Tomorrow policy statement, and published in October, which laid out our plans for radical reform of the legal education and training framework. It is part of the SRA's Red Tape Initiative to remove unnecessary regulations wherever possible.
"Our aim is to reduce unnecessary regulation and enable more flexibility, while ensuring that there is a greater focus on the quality and standards of those who we regulate to deliver legal services."
Other proposed changes include plans to replace student enrolment with a targeted means of dealing with character and suitability issues; to remove the requirement for the SRA to issue a Certificate of Completion of the Academic Stage of Training; and to avoid duplication of Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) procedures in quality assuring the QLD, CPE and LPC.
The SRA has introduced a raft of changes to reduce unnecessary regulation throughout this year, as a result of its Red Tape Initiative. A total of twelve changes have been introduced to date, covering a range of regulatory and education and training requirements.
These were introduced following two consultations, which invited solicitors and other stakeholders to comment on proposals to simplify existing regulations, while still enabling the SRA to meet its regulatory objectives.
In April, ten proposals - four regulatory and six education and training requirements - were implemented, following Board approval. They include permitting in-house solicitors employed by local authorities to charge charities for legal services; allowing the COLP or COFA in a main UK-regulated body to apply to be the COLP and COFA for any related entities; and introducing a lifetime authorisation for training establishments.
In October, two further changes removed the reporting obligation of compliance officers in traditional firms to report non-material breaches as part of the annual submission of information to the SRA; and simplifying the practising certificate renewal process following certain events, specifically insolvency.
SRA Chair Charles Plant said; "We are making real strides forward in targeting our regulatory activities on the issues that really matter in protecting the public interest. This will only be achieved when our Regulations contain no more than what is necessary - and what is unnecessary is taken away."