Following a consultation process and in light of the IRB’s responsibilities, obligations, and 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:
Ensuring Professional Standards Department 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, by:
i. ensuring there are appropriate systems in place to support the functions of policy making, application/registration, education, monitoring, conduct, related projects and other administration;
ii. ensuring the corresponding Professional Standards Department structure and overarching governance arrangements remain fit for purpose;
iii. ensuring legal services regulation is properly resourced;
iv. continuing to implement and develop systems for the collection and analysis of key indicators and relevant data that provide for the evaluation of the performance of this regulatory function;
v. addressing matters arising from the Legal Services Board’s performance assessments; and
vi. developing a long-term strategy for effective oversight of reserved legal services as regulated by ICAEW.
Ensuring 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 and share good practice, identify required improvements and take appropriate action where poor performance is established.
3. To implement regulations that 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.
5. To monitor and, where necessary, ensure compliance with the price and service transparency requirements.
6. To ensure that there is effective communication, by:
i. maintaining active and effective channels of communication with authorised and licensed firms to facilitate, for example, the dissemination of regulatory information and best practice; and
ii. ensuring appropriate and sufficient consultation with authorised and licensed firms and other stakeholders on relevant matters, such as proposed changes to applicable rules and regulations.
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 seek to better understand how consumers’ experiences of using the reserved legal services of authorised and licensed firms may be affected by the ICAEW’s regulation of such activities.
9. To support and promote Legal Choices and other legal services educational platforms.
10. 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.
Contributing to a more diverse and inclusive culture
11. To continue to promote and encourage a more diverse and inclusive profession to help widen public access to legal services advice and support.
12. To assess the equality impact of our policies and actions.
13. To keep under review the future shape of reserved legal services as they could be delivered by ICAEW members and firms.