The Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) 2023-2024 business plan and budget consultation proposes a 12% budget increase, which could impact firms who are already facing inflationary pressures, the Law Society of England and Wales has suggested.
In response to the consultation, launched in May, the Law Society welcomes a continued focus on:
- Equality, diversity and inclusion
- Technology and innovation
- Anti-money laundering (AML)
“The SRA’s continued focus on these areas align with our own priorities,” said Law Society President Lubna Shuja. She added:
“The SRA continuing to improve its diversity data collection for individuals and firms will go some way to helping with collaboration in this area.
The programme aims to tackle the retention and progression of women and people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.”
On the SRA’s budget increase, Lubna Shuja commented:
“The SRA propose a significant increase in their budget. Given that many firms are facing inflationary pressures, it is vitally important that the SRA is focused on efficiency savings and costs are controlled to avoid unnecessary pressure on the practising certificate fee.”
Commenting on technology and innovation, Lubna Shuja said: “The SRA intends to collaborate with small law firms and tech providers which is helpful. She added:
“However, procurement standards – such as information about the technology’s functionality, risks and benefits – are needed for all firms.
Transparency on success metrics and rates, ongoing support provisions and accessibility features would benefit the entire legal services sector.”
On AML, Lubna Shuja said:
“We are committed to working with the SRA in ensuring a risk-based and effective approach to the AML regime. Given the ever-changing legislation, and the rapidly evolving and expanding regulatory requirements, it is important that the SRA works closely with the Law Society to help make sure members of the profession have the most effective support possible to fulfil their obligations.”