Issue 81 - June 2020
Welcome to Issue 81 of SRA Update.
In this issue you will find links to the latest information we have published in response to the Covid-19 linked queries you have been raising with us. We also want you to tell us what you think about our plans for the coming year, including our Business Plan and Budget requirements.
The final design for our Solicitors Qualifying Examination has also been approved by our Board, ahead of our final submission to the LSB. Subject to its approval, the SQE will be introduced in September 2021.
Our Board has approved the final design of the new Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE), ahead of our final submission to the LSB. Subject to their approval, the SQE will be introduced in September 2021. The SQE has been developed during a two-year period of piloting and engagement, and will ensure that all aspiring solicitors meet high consistent standards at point of entry into the profession.
The Law Society Group is now consulting on the Practising Certificate fees for next year. The fees fund the SRA and the permitted purposes work of the Law Society, and include levies for the Legal Ombudsman, Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, Legal Services Board, and the Financial Conduct Authority. You can have your say on the proposed requirements in a short consultation.
For the first time, this year we are giving you the opportunity to have a say on our plans for the next 12 months. Our 2020-21 Business Plan and Budget and how we allocate our funding, as we work to deliver the objectives in our new 2020-23 Corporate Strategy. It covers key areas such as upholding standards, but also looks at technology and responding to the increasingly fast-paced rate of change in the sector and wider economy.
It is important that we maintain the viability of the SRA Compensation Fund to make sure it remains a key consumer protection for people accessing regulated legal services, upholding the reputation of the profession. We are therefore seeking views about our proposed principles for contributions to the SRA Compensation Fund in future years as part of the Business Plan and Budget consultation.
Visit our dedicated Covid-19 pages for guidance and support on how to effectively run your day-to-day business during lockdown while still complying with our regulatory requirements. Key information on the pages cover areas such as our Accounts Rules, will writing, PII insurance, complying with anti-money laundering regulations and advice for students and trainees.
As part of our commitment to encouraging new ways of working in the sector, we are working with Lawtech UK’s new ‘innovation sandbox’, which provides the opportunity for you to get involved with leading tech businesses and public bodies looking to improve access to legal services.
For those that want to know more about the final SQE design and SQE2 pilot findings, we are holding a webinar on Monday 15 June. Find out how what’s changed and how the improvements to the design were informed by expert input, independent review and the latest pilot results. You can also learn more about the draft SQE2 Assessment Specification and how you can give us your opinion on this.
You can now find updated and improved information on our website designed to help you manage trainees. This includes practical information, relevant regulations and what is required if you offer periods of recognised training.
We have added additional guidance to our Your Health, Your Career pages in light of the coronavirus lockdown. These pages offer advice on how to make sure you stay well while addressing the many varied challenges of work.
While the coronavirus lockdown means we are currently unable to take telephone calls through our Contact Centre or Ethics Guidance helpline, we are still very much here to help you at this difficult time. Our ability to respond to emails remains unaffected, so please use this method if you need to get in touch.
We have been asking you for your views on how to improve mySRA to make it even easier for you to use. We have used this feedback to make changes to the system, and we now want your further views to see if these have made the difference you wanted.
Kaplan, the assessment organisation we appointed to develop and run the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE), has been approved by the Education and Skills Funding Agency to be the end-point assessment organisation for solicitor apprenticeships.
National crime agencies have reported a 400 per cent increase in cyber-attacks on UK businesses since the end of March. We have also heard of cases involving law firms being targeted. Read our guide on how you and your employees can stay cyber safe while working remotely.
Read our latest answers to the most common questions you have been asking. Recent additions cover what to do if you are having trouble renewing your PII insurance, what if trainees or key role holders have been furloughed, and the role solicitors have been asked to play in facilitating loans which have been granted to businesses through the Government’s British Business Bank scheme.
If you missed them, you can still catch up our latest webinars, covering key issues you and your firms need to be aware of at this time. Covering both Coronavirus specific and general content the sessions have proven hugely popular each attracting hundreds of viewers. You can also find out about what is coming next in our June programme of broadcasts.
The continuing lockdown means the public are increasingly shopping online while firms are potentially looking for as much business as possible, so it has never been more important that you are complying with our transparency rules.
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