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10 February, 2023
The Legal Services Board (LSB) needs to focus on improving customer information in more pressing areas of practice than conveyancing, where there is already significantly more information available than in other areas, the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) has said. The conveyancing sector, it says, must concentrate on the transformation of the home buying and selling process that promises very significant consumer benefit.
Responding to the consultation on the LSB’s draft 2023/24 business plan, the CLC said the LSB should be clear about what it intended to prioritise in its “broad and ambitious agenda”.
“The most pertinent example for the CLC relates to the consumer empowerment agenda. There has been a strong focus on conveyancing and probate services. This was a very sensible place to start because of the volume of both those services and their highly commoditised nature which perhaps lends itself more easily to a data-driven approach to aiding consumer choice of provide.
“Having made very significant progress in these two areas, there are now lessons that may be applied to other legal services where the need for better consumer information is surely more pressing, even if more difficult to achieve because of the nature and delivery model of those services.
“Indeed, it may be those very features that make the need for better consumer information more urgent.”
The response explained how the sector was closing in on “a shared vision of a transformed conveyancing process”. Over the coming years, this was “likely to be more beneficial to the consumer than incremental gains in consumer information”.
The CLC said the LSB could have an important role, helping to ensure that the sector is confident about the use of new technologies, remarking that the “new workstream should ideally be designed to stimulate further links / discussions, to support a stronger and shared understanding of how regulators can learn, respond to and apply rapidly evolving new technologies.”
CLC chief executive Sheila Kumar says: “The CLC would welcome a better sense of the relative priorities of the LSB’s very ambitious agenda. The conveyancing sector needs to be able to focus now on delivering a faster, more secure conveyancing process that gives consumers greater confidence and certainty.
“We are also concerned that there is only passing mention of the LSB’s role overseeing the Office for Legal Complaints (OLC). It is vital for consumers and the sector that the OLC delivers its recovery plan and has a clear approach to reducing its costs, which are ultimately passed on to the consumer.”