Issue 32 - June 2019

Welcome to the latest issue of Compliance News, the newsletter for COLPs and COFAs. In this issue, we report back on our checks to see how the profession is complying with the Transparency Rules. We also found concerns about money-laundering work following a thematic review of the processes of nearly 60 firms. We have announced that Compensation Fund contributions will be coming down next year, and finally don’t forget to save the date for this year’s conference, which takes place on October 30.

We introduced our Transparency Rules in December to help people find the information they need before choosing a legal service and to help you attract new clients through the publication of clearer information on the services you provide. In the spring, we carried out checks on 500 randomly-selected firms to see if and how they were complying with the new rules. The results showed there is still work to do.

Read more about: Checks on Transparency Rules finds more to do

Contributions to the Compensation Fund will reduce significantly next year, coming down by £530 for firms, and by £30 for individuals. The Law Society is currently consulting on proposals for practising fees, with overall levels proposed as staying the same for 2019/20.

Read more about: Compensation Fund contributions down, and PC fees suggested to stay the same

Money laundering is not a victimless crime - it can facilitate terrorism, people trafficking and drug smuggling. We recently reviewed 59 firms involved in trust and company services. While we found that most firms were adequately meeting their obligations, a significant number were not doing what they should. We have referred 26 of those into our disciplinary processes.

Read more about: AML firm review finds serious concerns

Save the date for the 2019 Compliance Officer Conference. After positive feedback from the 1,300 people attending the 2018 conference, we are looking forward to welcoming you back to the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Birmingham on Wednesday 30 October 2019. We are aiming to launch bookings in July. Again, those of you that could not make it to last year’s event can find out what happened on our conference resources page.

Read more about: Save the date as we head back to the ICC for one of the largest events in the legal calendar

The four-week collection period during which you need to provide us with your firm’s diversity data  opened on Tuesday 4 June. If you have not taken part in this exercise before, please see our website to find out more about this collection. We have also made some changes to the questionnaire this year, which you might wish to familiarise yourself with.

Read more about: Report your firm’s diversity data now

We currently have 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 has published guidance on costs information – a source of the majority of complaints it receives. The guidance provides an insight into how it resolves complaints, including case studies. These look at some of the common causes of costs complaints such as the information provided, the charging structure and managing changing costs

Read more about: Ombudsman publishes guidance on costs