Our Board met on 16 November (digitally) for our last full meeting of 2021. Our main discussion was on consumer strategy, and how we can improve the information available to consumers. We had an excellent thought-provoking presentation from Sarah Chambers (Chair, Legal Services Consumer Panel), reviewed progress on the objectives we set last year, and agreed a response to the Legal Services Board’s recent consultation on consumer empowerment. We welcome the LSB’s emphasis on regulators helping consumers access legal services, and the steps already taken to improve price transparency and the pilots underway to look at quality indicators.
As we move forward, we think it important there should be more cross-regulator co-operation and research, more recognition that consumers come in all shapes and sizes so our policy responses need to reflect that diversity and not be overdependent on digital solutions, and the need for our actions to be proportionate and evidence-based.
The Board then agreed our objectives on consumer empowerment for 2022 as part of a reshaped Business Plan. We will be publishing the Plan in the next few weeks alongside our refreshed 3 Year Strategy*. The Board also had important discussions on the review of the Compensation Fund arrangements and on options to improve our regulation of entities. The Board agreed an action plan to improve the way we do business, and that we should consult early next year on extending the possibility of digital hearings for enforcement panels.
Finally, the Board recognized the excellent work done by staff right across CRL with some very significant achievements including the LSB agreeing we should take responsibility for some 80 ACCA entities, our recognizing our first Alternative Business Structure, and submitting to the LSB proposals for next year’s Practising Fee Certificate amended following this summer’s consultation.
For those interested in finding out more, full Board minutes will continue to be posted on our website.