Changes to CQS
Our Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) is a recognised quality standard for residential conveyancing practices.
CQS is changing to make sure 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're improving CQS so that it will better support you by driving continuous improvement in best practice, client service and practice management.
We're fully committed to supporting and promoting our CQS members, which is why we're investing in CQS now and in the future.
As part of that commitment, the cost of the changes is funded by the Law Society and does not impact on current accreditation fees.
What the changes mean in practice
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:
- members proactively and effectively manage risk and demonstrate behaviours that support and promote the integrity of CQS and the community
- members demonstrate best practice and excellence in client care through robust practice management of residential conveyancing
- members demonstrate thorough knowledge and skill in handling conveyancing transactions
In February 2019, we published the Core Practice Management Standards (CPMS) (PDF 366 KB) which took effect for all CQS practices on 1 May 2019.
All CQS organisations must make they are compliant with the CPMS from 1 May 2019. Any applications for initial accreditation must also be able to meet the Standards from 1 May 2019 onwards.
We'll 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'll help to support you in embedding a culture of continuous improvement by issuing corrective action reports after on-site visits. We'll also be sharing best practice tips with the wider CQS community.
We're in the process of appointing an independent assessment body to carry out the on-site visits.
We'll provide more information on the chosen provider once the appointment has been made.
Steps CQS members need to take
CQS members must familiarise themselves with the:
- three core values of CQS, published in November 2018
- Core Practice Management Standards published in February 2019
You must have made any necessary changes to your organisation's 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'll be publishing an updated version of the CQS Toolkit to assist members with the new CPMS.
Overlap with Lexcel 6.1
If you're already accredited against Lexcel, you'll already have met some of the CPMS that are required for CQS.
Building the CQS community
To continue building the CQS community, we'll start sharing best practice with the CQS accredited membership and will keep you updated on the work we are doing.
We'll work on raising the profile of CQS to consumers and other key stakeholders in the residential conveyancing market to make sure current and prospective clients understand and value the CQS membership.
Finally, we'll continue our engagement with lenders to make sure we're continually representing your views and interests.