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A year in the chair

Just recently I celebrated my one-year anniversary with the Association as your Non-Executive Chair and it struck me that I couldn’t have chosen a more interesting year to be involved with this sector.

2021 into 2022 presented conveyancing firms with an unprecedented number of challenges and, for the most part, these have not gone away in an environment where demand and work levels remain high.

At our most recent Legal and All-Member meetings this was clearly an issue that firms are grappling with, particularly against the backdrop of securing the level of resource required to conduct the amount of work they currently have, and to meet future demands for more activity.

I appreciate it is not an easy task, particularly when many other property-related sectors are seeking to resolve similar issues. Many firms, at our meetings, talked about the difficulty in recruiting new staff, and the ways and means by which they were attempting to go about this, while ensuring they hold onto existing staff.

Securing new-blood into the sector has never been easy, especially so when those interested in property employment have an increasing number of other options to choose from.

However, I have been heartened to hear about the recruitment programmes of our members, the training academies they have in place, the incentives they are providing, the flexibility of the work programmes, etc, in order to secure the resource they require.

Of course, this is an ongoing and often costly investment, and they need to weigh up the return on that investment against their ability to secure new staff and for them to meet their transaction commitments.

It is not simply a case of throwing ‘bodies’ at this. Far from it, and we should not be afraid to point this out to those who might criticise firms on perceived resource issues, even if they are purely aiming to meet their service agreements and, in doing so, are not willing to be overloaded with work which would severely impact this.

It was pointed out to me that a degree of patience is going to be required when it comes to resourcing up. A significant number of conveyancers have left the sector over the past couple of years for any number of reasons, and as mentioned, filling this gap against the current employment environment is not as simple as flipping a switch.

Firms need to make sure they are doing what is right for them, and their employees. Recruitment can be difficult, especially when we have seen a considerable change in both working patterns and the wants and needs of people in this post-pandemic age. Responding to that in the right way needs thought and a strategic plan, and I am pleased to hear that many member firms are taking this approach.

The good news is that, members I talked to, were positive about the short-term future and were confident that they could bring on board the resource they required to take their businesses forward. That is undoubtedly going to be important if the level of business and the number of transactions continue to motor at current levels, and with demand as it is, that looks highly likely.

Finally, can I make all members aware of our next series of meetings which will be taking place on Wednesday 6th July at The Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce in London. We will be holding our Legal and All-Member meetings at the venue before moving on to the always popular annual River Cruise, which is sponsored by the Conveyancing Association and Groundsure.

Further details on our meeting sessions will be revealed soon but if you’d like to book your place now for the 6th July and the River Cruise, you can do so by visiting:

I look forward to seeing you there, if not before, and very much look forward to working with, and representing, you for the next 12 months and beyond.

Nicky Heathcote is Non-Executive Chair at the Conveyancing Association (CA)


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