The Conveyancing Quality Scheme was announced at the end of 2010 with the first firms being accredited in February 2011.
In its first year we are told 1723 applications have been received by The Law Society, 1247 have been accredited with 742 associated branches making total of 1989 ‘outlets’.
The Law Society haven’t provided us with the figures on those firms that have failed their application but there are obviously still a large number of firms going through the process.
So how does The Law Society feel that the first year has gone?
Rebecca Atkinson, CQS Technical Manager, said: “We expect CQS to have another successful year in 2012. The scheme went way beyond our initial expectations in 2011, its first year. I have no doubt that membership will increase, that the scheme will instil itself further on the home-buying landscape, and we will continue to highlight the benefits CQS brings to consumers.”
What happens next?
“In 2012 we will begin monitoring assessments on CQS members to ensure they are complying with obligations under the scheme. The reaccreditation process is now in full swing and we are currently developing further mandatory training for firms.
“I expect other lenders will begin to make CQS prerequisite for membership to their panels, and I am confident more home buyers will make CQS a prerequisite for choosing a conveyancer when buying a home. We are exploring the development of a CQS portal allowing for an electronic transfer service between CQS member firms.
“Later in the year we will be addressing a UN conference hosted by the Land Registry, where the Society has specifically been asked to give an overview of CQS.
“A series of CQS networking events have already begun with more planned in March and then a second series of events planned for May/June.
“We hope to repeat last year’s PII package for CQS as well as Lexcel firms. Other member benefits, such as discounts for other relevant memberships, will also emerge.
“A consultation has just opened on the TA6 forms, which is of direct relevance to CQS firms.”
Many firms have complained about the speed of the process and the challenges associated with the CRB checks. Others have complained about the cost.
To be fair to the Law Society Lloyds Banking Group, Santander and Nationwide are amongst the banks that verbally support the CQS in principle and despite its critics it has helped. That said does the HSBC experience demonstrate that it is already too little too late to rebuild trust with some lenders?
This second year for the CQS will be important to see if it has teeth and properly checks the adequacy of and information provided by its accredited members to be trusted conveyancers.