The Solicitors Regulation Authority has started to consider law firms’ nominations for two key roles in the move to outcomes focused regulation.
Nominations closed today for Compliance Officers for Legal Practice (COLPs) and Compliance Officers for Finance and Administration (COFAs).
The SRA has now begun the task of assessing all those who’ve been put forward.
It has until 31 December 2012 to process the applications. Approved COLPs and COFAs will then be required to take up their roles from 1 January, 2013.
COLPs and COFAs will be responsible for ensuring firms have systems and controls in place to enable them to comply with regulation. Responsibility for compliance rests with the firm, however the compliance officers must ensure compliance, and are responsible for recording and reporting failures in compliance.
Antony Townsend, Chief Executive, said: "When we introduced outcomes-focused regulation, we moved away from the focus on prescribed rules to concentrate on what outcomes we want for the consumer and for the sector as a whole.
“The appointment of COLPs and COFAs is key to this new regime and we’re delighted to be in the position of assessing nominations."
There are currently just over 11,000 regulated firms and sole practitioners in England and Wales and more than 93% of these have either completed, or are in the final stages of completing the COLP and COFA nomination process.
During August, the SRA will be engaging with those few firms that have not yet nominated a COLP or COFA, to resolve any difficulties they have had in meeting the deadline.
The nomination process started on 31 May. Further information is available on the SRA’s website at http://www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/freedom-in-practice/ofr/compliance-officers-colps-cofas.page