Like the producers of Strictly Come Dancing, who are lamenting the loss of Mr Goodman and reviewing arrangements for this year’s show, you should also find time to check your firm’s arrangements, whether you run your firm as a CILEx Authorised Entity or carry out non-reserved activities.
It is good practice to review all your client care information at least annually and make sure that you incorporate any necessary changes. Ask friends or family members to suggest ways in which you could make your written communications more user-friendly: make it a ten not a ‘se-Ven’!
The only designatory letters that you can add after your name are: ACILEx (Associate); GCILEx (Graduate); or FCILEx (Fellow).
All references to ‘ILEX Professional Standards’ should be changed to ‘CILEx Regulation’, and do make sure that consumers know who your regulator is. Make sure that you provide the correct website address for CILEx Regulation on both your correspondence and website (visit CILEx Regulation for information).
If you are a Fellow or an Authorised Entity, check that you are informing consumers of their right to escalate a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman (LeO) if you are unable to resolve it.
Make sure that all consumer-facing information has LeO’s correct address and telephone number, and the timescales for referring a complaint. Remember that when a complaint is referred to LeO, irrespective of the outcome, if you have not provided this correct information, LeO will still charge the £400 case fee.
Firms with individuals for clients must have incorporated alternative dispute resolution (ADR) into their complaints handling procedures. Those providing services online must meet the obligations to provide ADR information on their website.
Unfortunately, we do find CILEx members stating that they can offer legal services for which they have no training or qualifications. These often involve the provision of reserved or regulated legal activities. Do make sure that you have the necessary skills and regulatory arrangements in place for the services you offer.
Check that you are providing the correct regulatory information on your website.
Could you provide additional information to consumers about the protection you offer, such as holding Professional Indemnity Insurance, Data Protection or details of your complaints handling procedures?
Check that all links on your website are current and provide consumers with the information they need.
Does information on other business websites accurately reflect what you offer?
Protect yourself against fraud by running a search to check for website addresses which are similar to yours.
Check that the link to our client survey is still correct. We now host the survey on the home page of our website as well as on the consumer section (visit CILEx Regulation for further information).
Remember that you need to be registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and make sure that you submit the annual registration renewal.
Think about the training that you might need in 2017 to ensure that you are up to date on legislative changes and can complete your CPD return.
Hopefully, you will be winning the 2017 glitterball trophy, but if you are in the dance-off and need further assistance, then please contact CILEx Regulation by e-mailing us at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep dancing!