THE SRA Risk Outlook 2015-16 and Changes to Regulation
This month has seen the publication by the SRA of its Risk Outlook for 2015-16 – a document which the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) sees as a key component in its work and which, it states, “summarises the high priority risks this year, and sets out how we are seeking to manage them.”
The Outlook is divided into two distinct sections.
The first section looks at the drivers for change and not only uses extensive infographics to get the message across but also quotes some very interesting statistics. The drivers for change are cited as being:
- how people access and use legal services
- the way firms operate and deliver their services
- regulatory reform and legislation
- the economy.
The second section looks at the priority risks. It is here that some of the SRA plans for the future are identified alongside the risks that make those changes necessary and it is this which is arguably the more interesting part of the outlook as it gives an insight into SRA thinking.
Thus alongside the risks of:
- failure to provide a proper standard of service, particularly for vulnerable people,
- misuse of client money,
- information security and cybercrime,
- bogus law firms,
- lack of a diverse and representative profession,
- lack of independence,
- failure to act with integrity and in particular improper or abusive litigation, and
- money laundering
are changes which could affect the way in which solicitors undertake their work including plans for large-scale reforms to the approach to education and training through the “Training for Tomorrow” programme alternatives to the way firms hold client money in particular the option of using third parties to hold money.
Firms are advised to consider the issues set out in the Risk Outlook and ensure that they do not fall within the risks identified.
The risk outlook can be found on the SRA web site at http://www.sra.org.uk/risk/outlook/risk-outlook-2015-2016.page