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CA Annual Conference & Charity Dinner – the biggest and best yet

You spend months and months discussing, and preparing, for an event and – just like that – it feels like it’s over in a flash.

However, this month’s CA Conference & Charity Dinner was certainly worth all the effort, and I would first up just like to thank every single person who attended, whether a legal member firm, our Affiliate members, our sponsors, our exhibitors, and all those who took part in any of our sessions throughout the day.

Plus of course all members of the CA Executive Committee, and in particular, our Secretariat team who did most of the hard work and without whom, we wouldn’t have had such a spectacularly successful day and evening.

It’s customary to say how well-received our Conferences have been over the years, but I think 2024 went well beyond this.

It was certainly the biggest CA event I’ve been part of since joining the organisation, with a record attendance, and it was hugely gratifying to see so many people taking the time to come to Manchester, to take a full part in the day and evening, and I hope to take away plenty of food for thought about the future of the sector, but particularly how technology and digital solutions can take us to a much quicker and slicker process.

Conveyancing is a market made up of thousands of firms all carrying out varying amounts of business in any given year – and you might well argue that this is one of the major issues our industry has to overcome in terms of trying to get buy-in from all those myriad firms – but it seemed pretty clear to me that those firms in the Conference room, and the many propositions and services that support them, are dedicated to improving the home buying and selling process, and making sure all stakeholders benefit from that.

Now, of course, writing that down is much easier than getting to that point. We should know better than anyone given the CA work streams we continue to follow, and the simple fact that, while we have clearly made progress across multiple areas, there is still some way on the journey to go.

However, again, it was clear to me at Conference that we have much of what is required already in place, and many of the tech and digital solutions needed are here and, in many cases, already being used by many conveyancing firms.

The difficulty seems to me two-fold. That while the Government is engaged in this work, it is resisting legislation to introduce change, and while this mandation doesn’t exist, we will continue to have difficulty in convincing a significant number of firms who carry out conveyancing, to fully embrace those solutions and to ensure every firm, every stakeholder, and every consumer, benefits from a speeded-up process with less duplication, less uncertainty, dare I say it, less cost, and certainly less chance of the transaction not reaching completion.

In a very true sense, this is two sides of the same coin, and as a sector – and a wider property and mortgage market – we need to keep banging the lobbying drum in order to get greater commitment in this area from Government quarters, whoever might be in charge after the next General Election.

So, we still have some big challenges to overcome – I don’t think we can deny this –our 2024 Conference told me that, certainly our membership and those who support the CA, seem united in achieving these goals, because they recognise the benefits that can be delivered right across the piece.

One other point to raise and that is the Charity Dinner we held on the evening of Conference, which again was really well-attended and through the generosity of everyone who came, we were able to raise £1,350 for our wonderful charity partners, The Children’s Society.

Finally, just because the Conference is done and dusted for 2024, it doesn’t mean CA events are over – far from it. We have our AGM/Legal Members and All Members meetings on the 16th May in London – sponsored by DUAL Asset, a Legal/All Members Meeting in September – date and venue to be decided, and the same on the 5th December – sponsored by Howden – once again in London.

Plus, in June we’ll be launching a brand-new programme of webinars hosted by our Affiliate members that will run up until August. And, before we know it, we’ll be all back together for the 2025 Conference and Dinner, which will be in February 2025, with the city and venue to be confirmed later this year.

We hope you’re able to attend some, or all, of these and we thank you once again for your support in making this year’s Conference and Dinner such an excellent event.

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

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