Friday, September 23, 2011

In Practice: Of acronyms and initialisms

Next month we will have a new initialism to play with, to go with all the other acronyms and initialisms we all so love (examples of which follow in this post). 'OFR' stands, of course, for 'Outcomes-Focused Regulation', the new regulatory system for the profession, which comes into force on the 6th of October. It is the subject of a practice note issued by the Law Society this week. The practice note "is designed to give you an overview of outcomes-focused regulation (OFR) and the issues you may wish to consider in light of its implementation on 6 October 2011". We are told that the practice note is relevant to all solicitors, so get reading...

Incidentally, for those who have no idea what OFR is, I refer you to the overview of the book Outcomes-Focused Regulation A Practical Guide:
"It is part of the philosophy of an outcomes-focused approach that prescriptive rules are avoided if possible and practitioners make a judgement, reflecting their own clients and the nature of their practice, as to how to achieve the required outcomes. The regulator provides only limited guidance."
If you are still in the dark, then you probably need to buy the book.

Sticking with OFR, the Gazette told us on Monday that the SRA is considering a 'reflective approach' on CPD, as it seeks to align CPD with the principles of OFR. This will mean "that whatever new CPD rules are adopted, solicitors are likely to be required to demonstrate the ‘outcome’ gained from the training they undertook during the year". Sounds like fun, and something that will definitely not impinge on those precious billing hours.

Meanwhile, and changing the subject at last, Solicitors Journal reports that the BSB "has become the latest and only the second of the larger frontline regulators to appoint a board with a lay majority", the other one being ILEX Professional Standards. We are told that earlier this year the LSB consumer panel expressed frustration at the delay by the two main professional bodies in the legal services sector – the SRA and the BSB – in setting up boards with lay majorities. How long will the SRA continue to frustrate them?

On the subject of frustration, there can surely be little more frustrating than getting your LPC but then being unable to find a training contract, a subject mentioned in this letter in the Gazette yesterday, excellently entitled "Train to nowhere". The issue of whether there will be more LPC graduates than training contract vacancies is not, however, agreed as this article, also in yesterday's Gazette, points out.

Finally, with reference to last week's post, I am pleased to report that I have just successfully activated my mySRA account, although it seems odd that there seems to be someone else using my name as their user name (I am the only 'John Bolch' in the profession), and the 'captcha' (which for some reason you have to use twice) irritatingly kept spewing out words that were totally illegible. Such is progress.

TTFN.

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