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Changes to the Conveyancing Quality Scheme

30 November 2018

CQS is changing

The Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) is changing to ensure we continue to champion the role of solicitors and their position at the heart of conveyancing.

Following feedback from you and our ongoing discussions with lenders, we are improving CQS so that it will better support you by driving continuous improvement in best practice, client service and practice management.

We are fully committed to supporting and promoting our CQS members, which is why we are investing in CQS now and in the future. As part of that commitment, the cost of the changes will be funded by the Law Society and will not impact on current accreditation fees.

What the changes mean in practice and when they take effect

In November 2018, we published the three core values which will sit at the heart of CQS. These values embody the outcomes that we expect to be demonstrably achieved by each CQS accredited firm and will form the basis of our CQS assessments.

The three core values are:

  1. members proactively and effectively manage risk and demonstrate behaviours that support and promote the integrity of CQS and the community
  2. members demonstrate best practice and excellence in client care through robust practice management of residential conveyancing
  3. members demonstrate thorough knowledge and skill in handling conveyancing transactions

In February 2019, we published the new Core Practice Management Standards (CPMS) [PDF 366kb] which will take effect for all CQS practices on 1 May 2019.

This means, all CQS organisations must ensure they are compliant with these CPMS from 1 May 2019. Any applications for initial accreditation must also be able to meet the Standards from 1 May 2019 onwards.

We will also be introducing a small number of on-site visits each year and increasing the number of desk-based assessments to ensure you are equipped and able to achieve the values of CQS at the same time.

We will help to support you in embedding a culture of continuous improvement by issuing corrective action reports after on-site visits. We will also be sharing best practice tips with the wider CQS community.

We are currently in the process of appointing an independent assessment body to carry out the on-site visits. We will provide more information on the chosen provider once the appointment has been made.

What action do CQS members need to take?

CQS members must familiarise themselves with the three values of CQS, published in November 2018, and the new Core Practice Management Standards which were published in February 2019 and make any necessary changes to their organisations policies, procedures and practices by 1 May 2019.

CQS members will be expected to demonstrate compliance with the CPMS from 1 May 2019 onwards.

We will be publishing an updated version of the CQS Toolkit in spring to assist members with the new CPMS.

CPMS overlap with Lexcel 6.1

If you are already accredited against Lexcel, you will already have met some of the core practice management standards (CPMS) that are required for CQS.

Download a comparison of the Core Practice Management Standards against Lexcel Standard 6.1 (PDF 451kb)

Building the CQS community

To continue building the CQS community, we will start sharing best practice with the CQS accredited membership and will keep you updated on the work we are doing.

We will start work on raising the profile of CQS to consumers and other key stakeholders in the residential conveyancing market to ensure current and prospective clients understand and value the CQS membership.

Finally, we will continue our engagement with lenders to ensure we are continually representing your views and interests.

CQS podcasts

We have produced a series of podcasts explaining the changes to the scheme.