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The digital future is already here – the CA can help you grasp it

Firstly, I want to thank all those members who attended our series of meetings earlier this month in York.

As always, these meetings which bring our conveyancing members, affiliate members and other stakeholders all under one roof, rarely disappoint and these meetings were no different.

To my mind, while they always highlight the work we have to do in order to bring about the change we want to see, they also bring home the common bonds that are shared, the collective agreement on the solutions that are available and how they should be utilised, and the willingness to share experiences and work practices which I know all members really value.

Our work as your trade association is often predicated on supporting the entire conveyancing sector, not just our members, but there’s no doubting we can greatly strengthen our voice if we can bring on board more firms as members.

We have welcomed in more member firms recently and this allows us to have a wider voice, elevate our messages to key stakeholders and deliver even more benefits to our membership.

To that end, if you are aware of any firms who might be interested in becoming a member, or have an expressed an interest in CA meetings/benefits/workstreams, then do put them in contact with our Secretariat.


Digital solutions

One of our continuous workstreams focuses on how we can deliver a more efficient, less resource heavy home buying and selling process for conveyancers, and part of the way we do this is through our work in the digital sector identifying the solutions currently offered in order to improve efficiencies for all.

To that end, I hope you have seen the recent launch of our Digital Conveyancing Protocol – which can be easily downloaded from here – which has been written to help firms navigate through the range of digital services currently available to them, which we believe can help deliver the improvements we want to see in the home buying and selling process.

Take-up of the Digital Protocol, while not a requirement of membership, is recommended to all CA member firms, and indeed any conveyancing lawyer. Adopting the Protocol where possible should provide the best possible home-moving experience for their client and those home-movers and stakeholders in any related chain of transactions.

In a sense we have ‘gone early’ with the Protocol, because it has been written in expectation of what will be coming shortly from Trading Standards in terms of its material information guidance, and what future Government announcements we might (hopefully) get in this area.

As you know, we want Government mandation for measures such as upfront information provision, digital ID and digital signature usage, because it’s our belief that we can only truly get all the benefits and efficiencies out of these digital-focused solutions if they are used by all conveyancers.

The Digital Conveyancing Protocol sets out to exploit the benefits delivered to conveyancers through the improvement in technologies and the digitisation of data used in the home-moving process. It is intended to help conveyancers from cutting down on the time spent chasing and collating property information, to focusing on providing advice on the impact of that information on the client.

We’re aware that many CA member firms are already well ahead of the curve in terms of their engagement with these digital options, using them already, and securing the benefits they provide not just for the firm itself, but also very clearly, for the consumers/clients they represent.

However, as mentioned, there will be a number of firms who aren’t aware of what is possible, aren’t quite sure where to look for these solutions, or are perhaps reticent of change and what can be delivered.

That might feel like the right approach but change is coming regardless, and therefore this Protocol is available to help smooth that path and, if we are being blunt here, perhaps to steal a march on the competition, introduce those efficiencies, improve pipeline business completions, improve profitability, and secure further business as a result.

I would certainly urge you all to look at the Digital Conveyancing Protocol and take on board the recommendations, and see where they might fit within your business, particularly if you have not fully considered what is currently available from a digital solution point of view, or how it might help future-proof your business for what is inevitably coming over the horizon.

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

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