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A reminder of pricing transparency and the SRA digital badge scheme

A little while ago, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) released some detailed guidance on their forthcoming pricing and transparency rules, and it has since confirmed that the effective date for the rules is 6 December 2018.

This is the date from which firms are required to publish certain price and service information, as well as details of their complaints procedures (though not specific data around volume or types of complaints). 

We also know more about the digital badge scheme that is being rolled at the same time. Under the new rules, all SRA Regulated firms are required to display a digital badge on their website that shows that the firm is regulated by the SRA. Although the digital badge is available to download from 6 December, the SRA is granting firms a limited grace period to give them time to prepare, and the badge will only become compulsory from a date (as yet unspecified) during Spring 2019.

The digital badge links to key information held by the SRA about the firm and the SRA hopes that this will make it more difficult for unapproved firms to pass themselves off as regulated practices. The SRA is also engaging with the public, through direct engagement and social media, to raise awareness of the scheme.

In the meantime, the SRA is encouraging firms to update their mySRA profile to ensure that their website address and firm data are up to date.

Although many firms appear to be prepared for the transparency changes, and some are embracing the opportunities it could present, there may still be a fairly heavy data gathering process needed by some firms to make sure they comply with the new requirements.

Ian Johnson, Director - Audit, Saffery Champness LLP