Twitter hour summary

Twitter hour summary

By Tim Pearce, SRA Policy Executive, 20 June 2014

Many thanks to all those who took part in our second Twitter Hour. Contributors raised a variety of questions about T4T, with a strong focus on our new approach to continuing competence.

There were a number of questions about how the new approach would work in practice - how it will ensure competence, how it will tackle risks to the standards of legal services, and how it compares to our current approach and those of our fellow legal regulators. Providing an answer to your questions only using 140 characters was challenging, but if you require further information please contact us and we will be happy to respond.

Questions were asked about our monitoring and supervision of firms to identify risks proactively, and the way in which the new approach will dovetail with our supervisory strategy. We stated in our consultation response that we would embed the concept of competence more clearly within our regulatory activities and seek proactively to identify any significant risks or trends related to competence which require our attention. This may result in regulatory intervention where there are issues of firm, thematic or individual competence.

Contributors also asked about how the new approach will be supported by the forthcoming competence statement and continuing competence Toolkit. We believe the competence statement and toolkit will provide guidance and support to individual solicitors and firms to help them determine and shape their training needs.

Another theme was whether firms would continue to provide training and development for staff. We would expect that, in accordance with the obligation to provide competent services, individual firms will still need to devote appropriate time and budget to CPD activities. But there are many ways this can be achieved. We will also be requiring individual solicitors and firms to make an annual declaration regarding their training.

Some contributors were sceptical of the new approach, seeing it as reactively rather than proactively tackling sub-standard competence, and as permitting too much flexibility. We think that our new approach to continuing competence, in conjunction with the competence statement and Toolkit, and complemented by our range of supervisory and risk tools, is a proportionate, targeted approach which will provide firms with freedom and flexibility to determine their own requirements and ensure the delivery of competent legal services.

You can view the conversation on Twitter.