Governance, Risk and Compliance Blog

How EQMS 'Permissions' help solicitors with SRA compliance.

Posted by Michael Ord on Thu, Aug 02, 2012

Solicitors in England and Wales face a fresh impetus to ensure compliance across their organisations. Rule 8.1 (a)(i) of the SRA Authorisation Rules 2011 places the requirement on an authorised body and its managers to ensure compliance with obligations imposed on the body itself, its managers, employees or interest holders by or under the SRA’s regulatory arrangements.

Rule 8.2 of the Authorisation Rules refers to the need for an authorised body to have ‘suitable arrangements for compliance’, and the guidance notes to rule 8 refer to the need for ‘clearly defined governance arrangements providing a transparent framework for responsibilities within the firm’ as a common area for firms to consider.

In correlation with this, Outcome 7.1 of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011 outlines the need for a ‘clear and effective governance structure. Outcome 7.2 refers to the need for ‘effective systems and controls’ to achieve compliance.

Effectively maintaining an appropriate, up-to-date flow of information and documentation throughout an organisation on a paper-based basis can be a time-consuming and inexact process. 

 

EQMS compliance for solcitors

EQMS - Compliance for Solicitors features extensive permission-based document control which allows managers and compliance officers to thoroughly tailor the view of accessible content to reflect the needs of the firm and the roles of those within it. 

Reduce the risk of non-compliance arising from use of dated or erroneous content and ensure that only the most recent, approved versions of template documents are used by letting EQMS drive your working procedures. 

Document Manager

EQMS document permissions let you target specific users by group or role. They also help you to make document access match your organisational structure. Holding a single master copy of each document makes unnecessary duplication a thing of the past



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Tags: EQMS, Compliance Management Software, Document Management, SRA, OFR

How compliance software can simplify the role of a COLP & COFA

Posted by Michael Ord on Wed, Jul 04, 2012

The newly created roles of COLP and COFA are subjects of interest for every solicitors firm throughout England and Wales. Naturally, people are questioning their administrative impact and investigating methods of simplifying compliance with outcomes focussed regulatory requirements.

Steve Shore had over 20 years experience as a solicitor, including time as a Managing partner at Richmond’s solicitors, before moving to pursue a successful role with Doncaster Chamber of Commerce. Drawing from this experience, he believes that a pragmatic approach can allow compliance with OFR to become a value-add for solicitors.

History has shown that the firms who are most proactive to change are the ones who thrive.

Quality Standards like ISO9001 can make the difference

Today's information conscious clients are looking for Quality Standards certification such as ISO9001 as a way of verifying a firm's capabilities.

By implementing a software based quality management and compliance solution a medium sized Solicitors firm may benefit from business efficiencies and a public facing 'stamp of approval' which would definitely help from a marketing point of view.

Steve talks about how Compliance and Quality Management Software can simplify the role of a COLP and COFA. He makes particular reference to simplified audit, document control and search capabilities.

Steve Shore, EQMS Compliance for Solicitors team lead:

 

 

 Steve Shore, EQMS Compliance for Solicitors team lead:

“For me, the whizziest bit of the technology is Audit.

You put in (to EQMS) audits for various systems and processes, file reviews are a great example, and the EQMS system enables you to interrogate the information that’s in there, to get out concise reports that not only shows your compliance with the regulations, which is an auditable requirement of OFR, but also gives you really important management information about issues around training and quality that can actually improve your practice.

So EQMS as a tool, not only gives you great compliance management but also great management information to use on your business”

 

 

“I think back to my time as Managing Partner at Richmonds, I was responsible for client care, training and quality and all sorts of regulatory compliance.

Whenever I had to do an analysis I had to sort through rooms of filing cabinets and piles of paper to then spend hours collating the data to complete the reports. With EQMS it is all stored digitally, properly indexed and searchable and I could achieve the same work in a fraction of the time – it really is a time and money saver”


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Tags: EQMS, Risk Management, Compliance Management Software, SRA, OFR

Event Preview: OFR: Practical Tools for COLPs and COFAs

Posted by Michael Ord on Mon, Jul 02, 2012

As part of our mission to help and inform Solicitors, we will be introducing events and seminars that we feel would be helpful to COLP & COFA's. 

The Law Society Events:

OFR: Practical Tools for COLPs and COFAs, 25/10/12 – Leeds.

http://services.lawsociety.org.uk/events/node/54786 

The Event:

This will allow attendees to discuss the implementation of the SRA by appointing COLP’s and COFA’s, and enables them to benefit from further support with day to day implementation of their roles.

Topics for discussion include compliance planning, the use of template to record breaches, reporting arrangements, the SRA information management criteria, the identification of material breach and your firms complaint handling process. Your firm’s culture will also be discussed particularly in relation to its governance structure, how client based it is and the systems it employs.

What is on offer?

A series of practical based workshops providing tailored support to meet the needs of individuals. Each workshop lasts 90 minutes with a refreshment break in between, lasting from 1:30 – 5:15pm. It is suggested that managing partners, COLP’s, COFA’s, Finance Directors and Compliance Personnel are the people who could benefit from this event.

Please feel free to suggest your event in the comments.

Tags: Quality Management Software, EQMS, Risk Management, Compliance Management Software, OFR

Steve Shore on the main issues of SRA & OFR for Solicitors in the UK

Posted by Michael Ord on Mon, Jun 25, 2012



Steve Shore, the EQMS Legal Compliance Team lead, has 20+ years experience as Managing Partner of a 100 staff Solicitors and also a fee paid Judge.  Steve has always been forward thinking and a technology early adaptor and so it made perfect sense to work together to develop EQMS Legal Compliance software product.

This video is the first in a series of interviews to help share our learnings from 18 months intensive study of the SRA Handbook / OFR Regulations.

"I have been working with Tom Lee, a Solutions Architect at Qualsys, for over 18 months in order to get a forensic understanding of the Outcomes Focussed Regulations and how they apply to the day-to-day runnings of a Solicitors practice.
 
Our mission is to remove admin burden and simplify what can appear to be a complex compliance process.

EQMS has been used as a document management and compliance tool by Blue Chip clients throughout the globe for 17 years. So rather than re-invent the wheel, we have applied this learning to the new compliance environment for solicitors.

In my view, EQMS can save a small firm about 100 Partner hours per year and a full time administrator.

By automating things like Audit, and having access to the correct documentation via any web enabled device, I am convinced we can turn this 'compliance burden' into business efficiencies and differentiation.
 
I can foresee Solicitors using EQMS to achieve ISO9001 standards that help demonstrate 'quality' - which is crucial as the impact of the new regulations starts to take effect."

 
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Tags: Risk Management, Compliance Management Software, SRA, OFR