Consultation: ICAEW reserved legal services strategy
The ICAEW Regulatory Board (IRB) recently refreshed its reserved legal services strategy (RLS) and operational priorities.
The consultation ran from 10 August to 20 September 2021.
The number of responses to the consultation was small. However, most respondents were positive about key objectives and felt the strategy supported the IRB’s mission to strengthen trust and protect the public.
This was also reflected in the supportive responses received separately in relation to the regulatory plan.
Other feedback and comments, which helpfully informs discussions on reserved legal services related actions and priorities, included calls for a broader role for accountants and for ICAEW to do more work on diversity and inclusion.
IRB reserved legal services strategy 2021-23
Our mission is to strengthen trust and protect the public by enabling, evaluating and enforcing the highest standards in the profession. In doing so, we ensure our firms, members and students uphold the highest standards and act in the public interest.
In light of its responsibilities and obligations, and consistent with the regulatory objectives set out in Section 1 of the Legal Services Act 2007, the IRB considers that the current key objectives in relation to legal services are:
Ensure the Professional Standards Department (PSD) is best set up to deliver legal services regulation.
1. To ensure that ICAEW is an effective and efficient regulator of reserved legal services activities undertaken by authorised and licensed firms.
Ensure regulated firms are delivering a good service.
2. To ensure the quality of legal services work being undertaken by authorised and licensed firms, through conducting and acting upon sufficient high quality performance assessments as to identify good practice worth sharing, identify required improvements and take appropriate action where poor performance is established.
3. To implement regulations to enable the introduction of the reserved legal service of administration of oaths.
4. To monitor the provision of reserved legal services in order to identify and address any required education or training needs.
Ensure transparency and effective communications
5. To ensure that there is effective communication with stakeholders.
6. To introduce a change in regulation if required to significantly improve price and service transparency at firms we supervise.
7. To promote ICAEW’s engagement with the consumers of legal services undertaken by authorised and licensed firms, together with innovations in those services, and develop consumer feedback mechanisms.
8. To support and promote Legal Choices and other legal services educational platforms.
9. To explore possible areas for collaboration with the LSB and other frontline legal services regulators with a view to the advancement of the regulation of reserved legal services in the public interest.
Contribute to a more inclusive culture
10. Promote and encourage a more diverse profession to widen public access to legal services advice and support.
11. Assess the equality impact of our actions and policies.
12. To keep under review the future shape of reserved legal services as they could be delivered by ICAEW registered firms.
Our activities are guided by and support the Legal Service’s Board strategic themes; Fairer outcomes, Stronger confidence and Better Services, to strengthen trust and protect the public by enabling, evaluating and enforcing the highest standards in the profession.