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SRA launches first CPD review in 25 years

21 April 2011

The Solicitors Regulation Authority has launched a root-and-branch review of post-qualification training, the first since the compulsory professional development scheme was introduced in 1985.

“We need to make to ensure that the whole standards of the profession are robust, ensure competence and public confidence,” said SRA head of training Di Lawson.

Lawson said the main benefit of the current scheme was its flexibility but that it lacked specificity.

“Other than the mandatory management course that solicitors attend within the first three years following admission, and specific requirements for higher court advocates, we do not currently specify how solicitors should meet their annual 16-hour CPD requirement, how we assess the relevance of the CPD undertaken or even ask solicitors to do so themselves,” she said.

The review, headed by Professor Andrew Boon, of Westminster University, is expected to be approved by the SRA’s executive committee on 27 April and start with the new CPD year in November 2011. Professor Boon’s report is scheduled to be on the regulator’s desk in April 2012.

The review’s main objective is to create a scheme that “properly helps to maintain and improve solicitors’ competence, performance and ethical conduct”, according to the regulator, and which is “proportionate, targeted and based upon the principles of outcomes-focused regulation”.

The SRA said the new scheme should also “actively help solicitors to progress their careers and remain competent” and would be “properly monitored and enforced”.

The research is in addition to the wider Legal Services Education and Training Review (known as ‘Review 2020’) which the SRA, Bar Standards Board (BSB) and ILEX Professional Services (IPS) are commissioning this year.

The SRA is planning a similar review of management training. It will address the suitability of the Management Course Stage 1, which all solicitors are required to complete within first three years of qualification as part of the current CPD scheme.

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