Issue 31 - March 2019

Welcome to the latest issue of Compliance News, the newsletter for COLPs and COFAs. In this issue, we focus on our work on anti-money laundering – the drive to make sure the proceeds of crime or terrorist funding are kept out of the profession. It’s the responsibility of all 7,000 firms covered by the 2017 regulations and we will be asking an initial sample of 400 of you to provide evidence that you are complying with Government regulations. We have also announced the date when our new Standards and Regulations will come into effect. And don’t forget to save the date for this year’s conference, which takes place on October 30.

Money laundering remains a priority risk for the sector and we want to make sure that you are fully compliant with the Government regulations. We will be contacting 400 of you directly, asking for evidence that you have a money laundering risk assessment in place and are implementing it.

Read more about: Money-laundering checks

Our new Standards and Regulations will come into effect on 25 November. This will give everyone time to prepare for the shorter, clearer set of rules and the new ways of working, and will ensure we can provide a full range of support and guidance. Our digital badge will also become mandatory on that date.

Read more about: Standards and Regulations launch

Last year we warned the profession about the inappropriate use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) to prevent the reporting of professional misconduct or potential crimes to the relevant authorities. This includes sexual harassment or misconduct towards other employees or clients.

Read more about: Non-disclosure agreements and workplace sexual harassment

Save the date for the 2019 Compliance Officer Conference. We will once again be welcoming you to the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Birmingham, this time on Wednesday 30 October. We are aiming to launch bookings in July. Again, those of you that could not make it to December’s event can find out what happened on our conference resources page.

Read more about: Save the date for the 2019 Compliance Officer Conference

We have started trialling new opening hours for the Professional Ethics helpline. Solicitors will have access to advice between 11-13.00 and 14.00-16.00. Our aim is to make sure we are using our resources effectively, while still providing appropriate support to the profession. Our Ethics Helpline provides guidance and support to around 35,000 solicitors a year. Solicitors can get help with any ethics-related issue affecting their practice through calling 0370 606 2577 or using our webchat service.

Read more about: Change to Ethics Helpline opening hours

The Legal Ombudsman is hosting an afternoon course to explore the common complaints they receive and how these can be prevented. The course takes place in Leeds on Wednesday 1 May and will consider first-tier complaints processes and remedies, with case studies used throughout to demonstrate what can be learnt from complaints. These courses are free to attend and are available to professionals who work for a company/firm regulated under the Legal Services Act.

Read more about: Legal Ombudsman training – Remedies and learning from complaints

If you, or your colleagues, are going to the Legalex conference this Wednesday or Thursday (27-28 March) why not attend one of our seminars or visit us in the exhibition hall. Our sessions will cover areas including innovation, regulatory changes, business growth, professional development and cyber security in the legal sector.

Read more about: Visit us at Legalex this week