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17 May, 2022
Chair’s Report from Dame Janet Paraskeva
This is my second written report on a CLC Council meeting. There was a very positive response to the first one, covering the Council meeting of 12th February 2022. These reports aim to give those we regulate and other stakeholders a different insight into how we go about our work.
As well as the formal session that I report on below, the Council kicked off its review of the CLC’s strategy, which will continue until the end of the year and include a consultation over the summer. I hope that you will take the opportunity to join in with that.
You can see the agenda and papers for the 12th May meeting on our website.
Reviewing our progress
The Council reviews the CLC’s progress against the agreed business plan at each of our formal quarterly meetings. Our business plan year is the calendar year, so in May we reviewed the work in the first quarter of the year. Work is very much on schedule, with just some minor timetable modifications having been agreed to take account of the significant additional and ongoing work to monitor and support the regulated community’s compliance with the sanctions regime that was significantly increased following the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24th February.
The CLC’s Advisory Note on Sanctions is being updated as needed in light of the changing situation. I am pleased that we have found good compliance across the conveyancing and probate firms and that there is a low level of exposure to potentially and actually sanctioned clients. It is good to see that there is very wide use of electronic tools to check ID and sanctions status, among other checks.
The report on Key Performance Indicators for Q1 of 2022 is published on our website, as usual and demonstrates our good practice.
Maintaining the regulatory framework
The CLC is committed to ensuring that is regulatory framework reflects evolving best practice, the changing nature of risks and harms in the delivery of conveyancing and probate services and the changing models of service delivery and business.
At this Council meeting, we ratified decisions taken at an informal meeting to submit to the LSB an application for changes to our Professional Indemnity Insurance arrangements aimed at making the process smoother. We also approved proposed additions and clarifications to the rules that support the operation of the independent Adjudication Panel that considers disciplinary cases. We also reviewed, prior to its publication, a consultation on changes to the Equality Code. Make sure to have your say on the proposals in that consultation, which will begin soon.
The Council also considered work on the Compensation Fund that the CLC operates. The review aims to create a better framework for the proper management of the Compensation Fund and availability of the Fund to make grants to applicants falling within its ambit. The Council provided steers on key issues ahead of drafting beginning to set out proposed changes.
Understanding the changing environment in which we operate and monitoring risk
As noted below, in the background section, the Council receives from the executive team weekly updates on economic, regulatory, political, technological and commercial developments that may affect the practice of conveyancing and probate, the risks that consumers and law firms face and so need to inform our approach to regulation. The Property and Law Roundup provides an additional update at each quarterly meeting.
At this meeting, the Council approved changes to the CLC’s Principal Risk Register following its review by the Audit and Risk Committee, taking account of the deep insight the CLC has into its regulated community, informed by insight into the wider economic and other factors affecting the sector we regulate.
The next formal meeting of the Council will be on 28th July. Before that, we will be working on the review of our strategy in informal sessions.
Background on the working of the CLC Council
The Council of the CLC has formal quarterly meetings to review performance and to consider policy issues and regular, informal workshop sessions to have initial steering discussions with the executive team on a wide range of challenging or innovative questions. There are weekly written updates to Council too on the full breadth of the CLC’s work and insight into the evolution of the housing market, the practice of conveyancing and probate and the outlook for the economy. The agendas and papers for the formal Council meetings are published here.
The Council brings together lawyers and non-lawyers with a broad mix of experience that is relevant to the work of the regulator. You can find out more about the members of the Council here. The Council is supported by the Audit and Risk Committee, which meets quarterly and in advance of Council, making reports and recommendations to it. There is also a Remuneration Committee and Appointments Committee that each meet periodically through the year.
Key Performance scrutiny
As you would imagine, a central part of the Council’s work is to review the CLC’s performance on its core regulatory work and to that end we always review the CLC’s watchlist, which tracks the progress of serious disciplinary matters as well as claims on the Compensation Fund, the CLC’s own Principal Risk Register and a set of Key Performance Indicators that run across the organization. This provides scrutiny and challenge for the executive team and brings the varied expertise of the Council Members to bear on their work.