“Good governance makes it easy for people to do the right thing and hard to do the wrong thing”
Welcome to the new format of “Compliance Lifeline”. Following the success of the email version, we are launching the new format online, making it easier for you to read and save items we mention. We hope you like it. Your feedback is always welcome.
The SRA wants to know your views – solicitors often moan about the SRA and how it goes about its role. However, you can get a better understanding of the SRA’s plans and even provide feedback on those plans. Understanding SRA thinking gives you an opportunity to plan how you allocate your resources and understand emerging risks in solicitor regulation. This year, there is a strong focus on the use of technology. There is an opportunity to take part in the process by joining “Business Plan consultation: What should our priorities be for 2022-2023?” on 26th May. The event is online and only 45 minutes long. You can book this event here.
Cybersecurity – When we speak to law firms, they uniformly tell us that the No.1 risk that keeps them awake at night is cybersecurity. However, firms are not alone in managing their defences and resilience to cyber-attacks. The National Cyber Security Centre offers excellent advice and free guidance on the steps you can take to better defend your firm. Three tools you may find helpful are:
· The new Email Security Check service, from the National Cyber Security Centre – a part of GCHQ – helps organisations identify vulnerabilities affecting their email domain so they can take action to fix them. Email Security Check requires no sign-up or personal details to use.
· How to include your staff in cybersecurity management including incident management. See here.
Anti-Money Laundering and Covid-19 – The SRA has identified Covid-19 finance support schemes as an emerging risk for firms when considering their practice wide risk assessments for 2022. Over 15 months, from March 2020, the three main Covid loan schemes – bounce back, CBILS and a scheme for larger loans, CLBILS – handed out nearly £80bn to businesses. Some criminals fraudulently got loans and diverted cash to purchasing property. So be aware of clients who gained new wealth during Covid-19. Ask yourself how people became legitimately enriched when the country was in lockdown and economic output plummeted. And if you have concerns, consider whether your suspicions are sufficient to file a suspicious activity report. For more information, see the NCA Guidance on Covid-19 and Reporting.
And finally, back to the SRA – Mental Health Rule Changes – The SRA is consulting on proposed changes to the rules and Codes of Conduct. They want to clarify the regulatory approach to issues around, appropriate treatment of work colleagues by the individuals and firms, a solicitor's health and fitness to practise. The consultation ends on May 26th. Read: Rule changes on health and wellbeing at work