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ICAEW Probate Action Plan

The ICAEW Probate Action Plan aims to deliver greater transparency in the legal services market.

The Action Plan

In order to develop and advance ICAEW’s consumer engagement strategy building on the feedback from firms and also to address the concerns and recommendations outlined in the CMA’s report, ICAEW produced an Action Plan setting out ICAEW’s consumer engagement implementation strategy. This plan focuses on four high-level outcomes identified by the Legal Services Board1 relating to market transparency. These high-level outcomes mirror the four broad areas of action identified by the CMA and are set out below:

(a) Take action to deliver a step change in standards of transparency to help consumers:

  • to understand the price and service they will receive, what redress is available and the regulatory status of their provider; and
  • to compare providers.

(b) Promote the use of independent feedback platforms to help consumers to understand the quality of service offered by competing providers.

(c) Facilitate the development of a dynamic intermediary market through making data more accessible to comparison tools and other intermediaries

(d) Making better information available to assist consumers when they are identifying their legal needs and the types of legal services providers (both regulated and unregulated) who can help them.

However, the Action Plan goes beyond just asking for certain information to be published on websites. It works towards inculcating a culture change within our firms regarding how they view transparency, reflective not only of the changes inspired by the CMA, but expounding the requirement for transparency ICAEW expects of its members  through the Practice Assurance scheme and Code of Ethics.

Consultation on ICAEW’s Action Plan

Following approval of our Action Plan by the Legal Services Board ICAEW launched a 12-week consultation on this plan, which finished in September 2018.

This consultation sought views on ICAEW’s Action Plan but most specifically, the proposals for the production of a Best Practice Guide to Price and Service Transparency (Best Practice Guide). This consultation asked for feedback on the following issues:

  • Transparency of pricing and service provision 
  • How to help consumers navigate information on legal services 
  • Regulatory status and redress 
  • The use of independent feedback platforms 
  • Data for intermediaries

We have carefully reviewed and considered all responses received during this consultation and believe that we have addressed the concerns raised as best we can in the Best Practice Guide.

1 Annex A to the LSB’s Report: Increasing market transparency: how LSB will implement the recommendation directed to it in the Competition and Markets Authority’s market study dated April 2017