Governance, Risk and Compliance Blog

EQMS Compliance for Solicitors software reviewed by Jonathan Bray

Posted by Michael Ord on Fri, Feb 15, 2013

Jon Bray

Solicitors compliance expert, Jonathan Bray, writing in the respected 'Compliance & Risk Journal' compared the key compliance software solutions to support COLP / COFAs.

Jonathan reviewed a range of reputable solutions, and made the following remarks about EQMS.

EQMS Compliance for Solicitors

Jon Bray EQMS Review
"EQMS is being developed for the legal market having been a leader in other highly-regulated industries for almost 20 years.

The developer boasts an impressive client list including BT, Diageo, the Financial Times and a whole host of local authorities and NHS Trusts. Many firms will undoubtedly be attracted by this proven track record.

The version for law firms is built upon the same engine used by the company's blue chip clients, but its workflows have been adapted from the ground up for COLPs and COFAs.

It is fair to say that the system is currently in an advanced development stage and feels less polished than some other software, but from what we have seen so far the end product is likely to be impressive. The developers say they are working hard to make the system user-friendly and intuitive, without losing any of the software's sophisticated features. 

As well as recording and monitoring functions, EQMS has full audit and reporting capability.

The software is mainly preconfigured for ease of set up, although fully customisable to a firm's procedures and workflows.

Integrated document management, including precedent manuals and policies with roll-out capability, add real value to the service.

Compliance Officers looking to maximise their chargeable time will also be able to opt for an approved risk management consultant to help them manage the firm's overall risk and compliance strategy on an on-going basis.

EQMS can be run in the cloud or on a local server, and data can be accessed by mobile devices.

The product can also integrate with the major accounts packages and Microsoft Office applications, as well as Sharepoint."

Partnership Opportunities for Risk Management Consultants

Mike Bendall

Mike Bendall, Qualsys Director said:

"Qualsys are 100% committed to delivering a real game-changing solution for solicitors compliance. The EQMS Compliance for Solicitors software has been developed for the past 18 months, working with key industry experts and is now being rolled out beyond our pilot firms.

We will soon be announcing exciting partnership opportunities for Risk Management consultants working in the legal market"

 

Request free 1 hour consultation

Tags: Risk Management, Compliance Management Software, SRA

Trends in document management through 2015

Posted by Michael Ord on Wed, Jan 16, 2013

The start of a new year is always a good time to reflect.
Mike Bendall, Document Management
We asked Mike Bendall, a Qualsys Director with 20+ years experience in the field, to provide a few articles on future trends, and best practice lessons in document management.

In the first in a series of articles, Mike gives his view of changing trends in document management, and the quality standards that drive compliance issues through to 2015. 


Document Management systems (DMS) explained

Integral to an organisation's content environment, document management involves the acquisition, storage and recovery of information pertinent to operations.  

A well-functioning document management system (DMS) generates agile document-modification while improving records' retention, security, auditing and summarisation.  

Regulations and quality standards developed by professional agencies for maintaining operational/performance criterion across a wide range of enterprise/business processes motivate DMS-integrity.

ISO Guidelines

The International Organisation for Standardisation generates ISO-guidelines to provide best-practice principles/procedures for quality assurance, environmental management and information security.  Several ISO pertinent standards are:

  • ISO-9001 Quality Standard regulates workflows producing goods and services.  The benchmark for quality enterprise management, it fulfils the rigours of independent, external audits.  ISO9001 applies to similar products/services of the same relative class/function, globally controlling these processes to guarantee consumer needs and expectations are satisfied.              
          
  • ISO-14001 offers worldwide standards for appropriate and safe control of enterprise processes that may negatively affect the environment through wasteful/dangerous acquisition of natural resources or excessive energy consumption.  Internal audits maintain 14001-certification, ensuring these standards are upheld.            
     
  • ISO-27001 standardises practices for security of organisational information.  Systematic evaluation of security risks identifies administrative priorities for managing threats to information security. 
    The objective is assure confidentiality, integrity, and safe-access to information.   

The three guidelines generate enterprise cost savings through improved efficiency, productivity, and market-expansion, caused by reliable measures of quality-assurance, environmental-protection and data-security.  I've found no evidence they will be modified through 2015. 


OHSAS Standards

  • OHSAS-18001, the most recent certification-spec from Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems, can be aligned with ISO 9001/14001, combining quality and environmental administration with occupational health/safety protection.  

I believe some augmentation of OHSAS will be made before 2015, if audits demonstrate standards need to be updated to reflect current realities for workplace health/safety management; 18001's priorities mandate ongoing improvements for employee safety.   

CQC


  • The Care Quality Commission (CQC) monitors all British healthcare services, supplying essential standards of quality-care and safety for venues ranging from NHS-providers to hospitals, care-establishments to patients' own homes.  

All health/social caregivers must be appropriately licensed by the CQC, which implements regular service-reviews to ensure progressive British healthcare.  Modifications to present standards may be enacted prior to 2016 if review deems them necessary. 

SRA

  • SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority) provides the legal-services community guidelines for legal and ethical issues.  Its outcome-focused regulation (OFR) flexibly ensures justice and protection for clients by departing from confining conventions of law as necessary, while supporting and monitoring of solicitors' actions and behaviours.  

The SRA issues edicts affecting regulations as needed, and has already made 6 revisions to the OFR guidelines. It can be expected to modify its current regulatory stance on selected issues through 2015, if the need for further legal protection arises.  

FDA/CFR-21/Part-11

  • Part-11/CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) was enacted to assure best-practice DMS-procedures through mandating replacement of paper records/signatures by electronic documentation.  

A new law, CFR/Part-11 will not likely be modified through 2015, unless further workplace efficiency/productivity generated by its enactment becomes necessary. 

SOX

  • SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley Act) protects shareholders/general public from fraudulent corporate accounting/management (eg., Enron/WorldCom-2002)

DMS-procedures affect all electronic record-keeping/administrative functions, both internal and external.  SOX may be modified through 2015 if further large-scale corporate fraud emerges.            

GAMP

GAMP (Good Automated Manufacturing Practice) guidelines regulate pharmaceutical companies' information/test-data accuracy, its completeness, suitability and use of reliable DMS procedural, configuration and certification practices.

GxP quality guidelines are applied to certify product-safety and dependability. GAMP changes according to updates in corporate IT and its uses. 

Analysis

Document Management systems are innately connected to current standards/regulations, since they are themselves published documents requiring management for consistent use administering materials, products, services, technologies, processes and systems. 

It is a constantly moving envrionment; document management systems will continure to evolve to meet the standards and regulations as they transition through 2015.


Download Free Whitepaper: Case for Document Management

Tags: ISO 9001:2015, Compliance Management Software, Document Management, SRA

Qualsys' ‘Quality circles' article featured on Jonathon Bray Legal Services blog.

Posted by Michael Ord on Wed, Oct 03, 2012

With OFR emphasising the need for appropriate systems and controls, and market liberalisation driving a focus on consumer interest and service to clients, law firms may look to quality management mechanisms to help.

Qualsys’ Tom Lee has written an article on the potential for quality circles to help solicitors’ address emerging compliance and business requirements. Jonathon Bray Legal Services offer a range of compliance officer support services to help COLP’s and COFA’s.

 jonathon bray screen grab resized 600



















Tom’s article is featured on Jon’s blog here: http://www.jonathonbray.com/how-quality-circles-can-help-the-colp-and-cofa/

Want to speak to compliance expert?

Request free 1 hour consultation

Tags: Quality Management Software, Compliance Management Software, SRA

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



Request free 1 hour consultation

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”


Download Free EQMS Legal Compliance Info

Tags: EQMS, Risk Management, Compliance Management Software, SRA, 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."

 
REQUEST DEMO

Watch more videos on the Qualsys YouTube Channel


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