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Probate News 2 - May 2017

Welcome to Probate News 2; your update containing the latest probate technical guidance and best practice advice. In this issue, access an update on the diversity data collection, probate registry office certification requirements and more.

Diversity data collection

Page last updated

15 May 2017


Over the last few weeks, firms registered for probate have been putting together and submitting the diversity profile of their firms’ employees. The data covers the firm’s staff size and skills as well as the protected characteristics of the Equalities Act 2010. ICAEW as a regulator is required to collect this data on a periodic basis by the Legal Services Board as a condition of its licensing function. However the purpose of the exercise is much wider, providing evidence for the development of the profession and its relationship to the market – an important characteristic for the supply of probate. It also encourages firms to think about how diversity should inform its strategic and competitive approach to their market and the recruitment and development of their staff.

Firms were asked to submit their data to ICAEW by 30 April. Although this is an obligation of the Probate Regulations (2.7s), a large number of firms have not provided a submission. We are seeking to understand from them why they have failed to comply.

It is recognised that there are potential sensitivities in collecting and reporting the data. With this in mind, a support organisation, Riliance, is helping firms deal with these aspects free of charge this year. Firms that require further help or support on this are asked to contact the ICAEW advisory help line.

The data from the returns is now being aggregated and analysed, and a report will be published on the ICAEW website in the coming weeks.

Probate registry office certification requirements

We have been advised that some ICAEW accredited accountancy firms have experienced an issue with their probate registry not recognising them as being licensed or authorised to conduct probate work. To avoid any delays to your application, we have been provided with a probate registry form for you to complete and enclose with your initial application.

Gain the ACA – by experience

The Pathways to Membership scheme allows fully qualified members from certain professional bodies to apply for ICAEW membership, based on their experience. Pathways can help support individuals to achieve their career ambitions. It can also be used by accountancy firms as part of their succession plans to help protect the chartered status of their firm. Eligible applicants complete an Examination of Experience. This covers a series of questions which assess their experience, achievements, skills and expertise and is completed in their own time. Each application must be supported by an eligible sponsor. The next submission deadline is 16:00 on 16 August 2017.

Guidance for probate firms updated

We have updated the guidance for probate firms on the back of continued monitoring visits. This guidance will help your firm manage the quality and risk of your probate and estate administration work.

The Probate Regulations and Probate Compensation Scheme Regulations updated 23 February 2017

The changes are principally to refer all appeals in regulatory, disciplinary and compensation scheme cases to the First-tier Tribunal. The revised regulations are available along with a schedule of the changes.

Regulations and minimum wording updated

ICAEW’s PII Regulations and minimum wording were updated 1 May 2017. Participating insurers are now required to provide at least 24 months run-off cover to firms which cease practice. This cover may be conditional on payment of an additional premium, but it should make it easier to obtain run-off cover in the market. Firms will also have the freedom to determine the terms and extent of the run-off cover, provided this cover complies with the minimum requirements set out in the regulations.