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A quick reference guide to the new CPD regime for solicitors

The implementation of the SRA’s new Continuing Competence regime came into effect from 1st April 2016. From 31st October 2016 the SRA will no longer require solicitors to undertake the mandatory 16 hours of Continuous Professional Development (CPD). The new regime requires solicitors to reflect on their own performance and identify training and development needs, encouraging them to plan a tailored solution relevant to their area of expertise.

The changes also remove the need to complete the Management Stage Course 1 requirement from 1st April 2015.

What does this mean in practice?

Until 31st October 2016 practitioners have 2 options;

  • follow existing CPD requirements
    • Undertake 16 hours CPD
    • Complete a declaration that CPD requirement has been met for years 14/15, 15/16
  • from 1st April onwards adopt the new approach
    • Meet current regulatory requirement to deliver proper standard of service
    • Reflect on quality of practice and address learning and development
    • Comply with competence statement
    • Complete annual declaration that they have considered their training needs and taken measures to maintain their competence

There is no requirement to advise when you move to the new regime and all solicitors will automatically transfer on 1st November 2016 if they haven’t already.

Competence Statement

The competence statement is made up of three parts:

Statement of solicitor competence: This defines the continuing competencies expected from all solicitors and the steps they need to take to maintain these standards. www.sra.org.uk/competence

Threshold standard: As the competence statement is generic, the threshold standard sets out the expected level of performance and ability in your area of practice. www.sra.org.uk/threshold

Statement of legal knowledge: This sets out 13 core competencies that solicitors are required demonstrate at the point of qualification. www.sra.org.uk/knowledge

Principle 5 of the SRA Handbook requires you to provide a proper standard of service to your client. The statement itself identifies a proper standard of service and defines effective performance broken down into 4 core competencies;

  • A Ethics, professionalism and judgement
  • B Technical legal practice
  • C Working with other people
  • D Managing themselves and their own work

Practicalities

Practitioners will need to:

Demonstrate reflection on their abilities with reference to the competence statement and record learning and development needs: https://www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/cpd/tool-kit/identify-learning-development.page

Plan and record how you will address these needs https://www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/cpd/tool-kit/planning-learning-development.page

Address and record your activity: https://www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/cpd/tool-kit/address-learning-development.page

  • what you did
  • how it was related to ensuring your competence
  • what you learnt
  • when the activity was completed

Complete the annual declaration: https://www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/cpd/tool-kit/resources/annual-declaration.page

Training

The benefit to solicitors under the new regime is that training need not be prescriptive; indeed the competency statement encourages individuals, firms and training providers to look closely at the benefits their training provides and brings a focus to training that is relevant to your role.

The SRA outline a number of ways firms can use the competence statement in practice https://www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/cpd/tool-kit/resources/use-competence-statement.page

  • integrate Competence Statement into existing performance management systems;
  • introduce a performance management system
  • integrate into existing competence frameworks
  • develop a competence framework

Training can also include work shadowing, mentoring and case file discussions.

As a training provider ETSOS continues to provide innovative ways for you to undertake relevant training to your role across a range of subjects. Contact David Opie (davidopie@etsos.co.uk) today to enquire about our training options 01524 220001

  • In-house training
  • Regional seminars
  • Webinars
Visit our Training page to view our available courses Visit our Events page to view our upcoming courses

Documentation

The most important thing to remember is to record ALL your activity, from reflection and planning, through to undertaking the training. See below templates provided by the SRA to support your efforts

Development plan template https://www.sra.org.uk/documents/solicitors/cpd/development-plan.doc

Development record template https://www.sra.org.uk/documents/solicitors/cpd/development-record.doc

There is a very good summary provided by the SRA here https://www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/cpd/tool-kit/resources/summary-guide.page

I have to say that I am very impressed with how quick you guys turn around searches and queries. I am completely converted to an Etsos user! Thanks! Jane Lockwood – Birchall Blackburn

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