Easing The SRA Accounts Rules Administrative Burden

Getting Ready For The New SRA Standards and Regulations

Conveyancers working within firms regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) will have their hands full leading up to 25th November 2019, when a new set of Standards and Regulations will be introduced covering solicitors, firms and accounts; although on the face of it they appear to be aimed only at solicitors they do in fact apply to everyone working in firms.

The SRA expects firms to move seamlessly from the current Code of Conduct 2011 to the new SRA Standards and Regulations from the effective date and are likely to carry out a thematic review in 2020 to ensure they are complying with them.

At the time of writing this article there are 50 working days left to get your firm ready for the new regime, so time is of the essence.

So, what do you need to do?

The following would be a good start:

  • Review your regulatory and compliance culture
  • Review and update your current policies, systems and procedures
  • Review training needs and provide training as required
  • Review your compliance registers, in particular, update your risk register
  • Review and update your compliance plan

Another area you will need to focus on relates to reporting concerns (serious breaches); the rules around these have already been updated once and they aren’t even in force yet!

  • Requirement 7.7 now states, “You report promptly to the SRA or another approved regulator, as appropriate, any facts or matters that you reasonably believe are capable of amounting to a serious breach of their regulatory requirements by any person regulated by them (including you)”.
  • Requirement 7.8 now states, “Notwithstanding 7.7, you inform the SRA promptly of any facts or matters that you reasonably believe should be brought to its attention in order that it may investigate whether a serious breach of its regulatory arrangements has occurred or otherwise exercise its regulatory powers”.

In light of the new 7.7 and 7.8 requirements you will need to assess how you will comply with these, for example, you may currently be able to determine whether something is clearly serious (material) or not (non-material), but what will you do if it falls somewhere in between? Will you have effective reporting lines and decision-making processes in place to ensure you report as appropriate?

If you haven’t already started planning for 25th November, you need to start now!

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