LSB regulatory performance assessment framework – Law Society response

The proposals

The Legal Services Board (LSB) has proposed standards and characteristics intended to replace the existing standards and outcomes in the current regulatory framework.

The LSB emphasised:

  • regulators to take greater responsibility for performance
  • proposals intended to advance all eight regulatory objectives
  • greater space for regulators to shape their own activities
  • sufficient flexibility maintained with the framework to work well
  • a revised ratings system – moving from a traffic light system to adequate assurance, partial assurance or inadequate assurance
  • removal of approved regulators from the framework

Implementation will focus on one or two standards in 2023 rather than three.

From 2024, the LSB will not necessarily seek assurance of all three standards on an annual basis.

Our view

It's important than oversight arrangements are robust and clear, with a strong level of accountability of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) to the LSB.

The move to an outcomes-based model – where the SRA will have greater discretion in how it provides assurance over its regulatory performance – has come too soon.

It is yet to meet the level of regulatory maturity and strong delivery that will ensure a sufficient degree of stakeholder confidence.

In common with other regulators, we urge the LSB to regularly test stakeholder confidence to ensure that future changes address industry and the public's needs and concerns.

Given the current climate affecting the rule of law and perceptions of the legal profession in defending it, it's particularly important there is a clear, transparent and accountable regulatory framework underpinning the delivery of legal services.

The LSB should provide clarity and rationale on its proposed move from an 'oversight' role to an 'assurance' role in its assessment of regulatory performance.

We suggest the LSB undertakes regular research across its regulated communities to better understand the levels of confidence in its regulatory bodies.

Next steps

The consultation closed on 1 July.

The LSB will publish and consider all responses.

Read the consultation on the LSB website (PDF 729 KB)

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