Chair’s Report from Dame Janet Paraskeva
Before I comment on the first formal Council meeting of 2024, I want to report briefly on the conference we held on the morning of the same day during which we launched our Annual Report on 2023.
The conference included an opportunity for those attending the conference, CLC lawyers, their suppliers and other stakeholders, to put questions to the Council and Senior Management Team. This is part of our commitment at CLC to openness and accessibility.
Before the launch of the Annual Report, we devoted time to look at how the work of specialist conveyancers and probate practitioners might be transformed by streamlined approaches to the delivery of legal services made possible by easier access to data and improved tools.
We were pleased to hear from Baroness Penn from the Department for Levelling-Up, Housing and Communities about the government’s expectations in relation to conveyancing as well as from the Deputy Chief Land Registrar, Mike Harlow on the Digital Property Market Steering Group. Our other expert speakers focused on opportunities arising from new approaches to the use of data and greater security in financial transactions thanks to the Bank of England’s work implementing ISO200022 for payments. We heard the consumer voice on changes that are already under way and from practitioners in the middle of delivering improved services. You can read more about it.
We had helpful feedback on the event which we are now considering as we plan for 2025.
The first formal Council meeting of the year looked at the outturn of the previous year in terms of the Business Plan and the Key Performance Indicators.
Good communications with the regulated community and stakeholders are vital to the success of the CLC’s work. Our newsletters, which might be how you came to be reading this report today, have high open and click-through rates. This shows that our audience is closely engaged with the information, insight and guidance that we provide.
We also invest significant resource in public legal education, through the joint website Legal Choices, our own PR targeting home movers (First Time Buyer magazine and What Mortgage) and our own website.
A Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) consumer survey of 1,000 respondents in late 2023 highlighted significant awareness (18%) of the CLC amongst the general public, which increased even further (25%) amongst those who had used a legal service provider in the last two years. The CLC was the most recognised regulator after the ICAEW, SRA and BSB and was far ahead of IPReg (11%), CILEX Regulation (4%) and CLSB (3%). This shows that the CLC continues to punch above its weight.
Annual Business Plan and Budget
You can see how the CLC is funded, through individual licence fees and fees paid by regulated practices based on their turnover on our website.
The Business Plan for 2024 is ambitious. It builds on our strengths as a specialist regulator of conveyancing and probate and the particular focus that brings. We are committed to driving positive improvement in the delivery of both types of legal services. There is much work already underway in relation to transforming the conveyancing progress and we think there will be lessons that can be carried across to the practice of probate.
The Council agreed the budget and business plan for the year and will closely track progress at each of our quarterly meetings.
A key piece of work in 2024 will be the implementation of the revised Code of Conduct. Developing this has been a thorough and careful exercise and we are grateful to the many practitioners and others who gave their time to review the ethical principals and to comment on the consequent amendments to the Code. The Council signed a final version that will now go to the Legal Services Board for approval.
The Council also agreed a new approach to what we now call Ongoing Competence, rather than Continuing Professional Development.
The new Code of Conduct and the new approach to Ongoing Competence represent real changes that will help practitioners meet the CLC’s high standards and demonstrate that they are doing so.
I look forward to reporting on the next formal meeting of the Council to update you on these and other matters.
If you have any questions, you can put them to us at any time on email@example.com