This blog is aimed at helping COLPs and COFAs understand the exact nature of their obligations. The roles carry significant personal responsibility and they have no real precedent in the legal profession. This blog aims to de-mystify the roles and to offer practical support to help COLPs and COFAs identify and meet the SRA’s requirements and use their position to bring benefits to their firms.
Continuing competence replaces the mandatory CPD scheme for solicitors with a new system of continuing competence that is concerned, not just with CPD requirements, but with ensuring that the entities regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), and the solicitors employed by them, deliver competent legal services to the public.
Continuing competence represents a seismic shift in the training landscape for solicitors. The key difference is that, rather than simply attending a series of legal update courses each year so as to tick a box, solicitors will need to consider their learning needs and plan their learning activity. The previous prescriptive requirement of 16 hours worth of CPD certificates alone will no longer be enough to prove compliance.
Hand in hand with this new approach, the SRA has abolished the distinction between “accredited” and “unaccredited” training and no longer authorise individual training providers. The net result is that solicitors will now benefit from a broader choice of activities that can satisfy their learning requirements. Whilst the SRA admits that accreditation was never a kitemark of quality, individual solicitors will now be responsible for ensuring that the training a provider in the new deregulated environment is credible.