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SRA apologises for mySRA 'teething problems'

Regulator to update solicitors later this month

3 October 2011

The Solicitors Regulation Authority has apologised to solicitors for technical problems they have experienced using ‘mySRA’, the new online system for PC renewals and keeping names on the roll.

According to SRA figures, there are currently around 122,300 solicitors with PCs, and up to 37,000 others likely to want to remain on the roll despite being non-practising.

Under the old system, hard copy application forms to remain on the roll were sent out in March. The fee for keeping a solicitor’s name on the roll for a year is £20, meaning that around £740,000 in income for the SRA is yet to be collected.

A spokesman for the SRA said it would be contacting individuals wishing to remain on the roll but without a PC later in the autumn, but there was no annual deadline for applications.

“They do not need to take any action until then, but in the meantime, they will remain on the roll,” he said.

On its website the SRA said solicitors wanting to renew their PCs should visit the mySRA page in mid-October for the latest information. Last year’s deadline for renewing practising certificates was October 31.

Solicitors have been asked to activate their mySRA accounts even though they cannot currently use them for renewals.

Antony Townsend, chief executive of the SRA, apologised for problems solicitors had experienced in activating them.

“Despite extensive advance testing, it is regrettable that teething problems prevented some members of the profession from being able to activate their accounts immediately and begin to appreciate the significant benefits that mySRA will bring, in terms of time and cost-savings,” Townsend said.

“It will give solicitors greater control over their information, cut down on the amount of time needed to supply the information and will allow them to update their details at a time to suit them, rather than at the same time of year as everyone else.

“Initial teething problems caused some log-on problems when the system was launched on 1 September. These have now been resolved and the authority has apologised to all those who experienced problems.

“I would like to thank colleagues for their patience and apologise for any inconvenience caused. Activating your online account should now be a straightforward process.”

Townsend said mySRA would see the SRA replacing its paper-based application process with a fully online system, giving greater control to individuals and firms over the way they manage their information and pay fees.

“Until now, solicitors have had to fill in a wide range of forms—some containing the same information—to ensure the SRA has the necessary, up-to-date information on record. These forms arrive at the SRA from practices all over the country at the same time during the annual renewal period.

“The new online system will cut down on duplication of information and will enable details to be updated throughout the year, rather than in one go.

“Solicitors can also use mySRA to submit a broad range of applications to the authority, get instant information about the progress of these applications, and updates on other regulatory processes.”

Townsend said account activation codes had been now sent to all registered solicitors, enabling them to activate mySRA. The SRA said last week that 45,000 solicitors so far had activated their accounts.

All payment of fees will in future be made online by credit or debit cards, and cheques will no longer be accepted.

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