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Utilising the best of what the CA can offer for the rest of 2023 and beyond

August, and therefore the summer holidays, are almost over and as we look ahead to the rest of the year, it seems important to remind you where we sit as your trade body, what we have coming up, not forgetting what we deliver to members as a matter of course and what you might not be taking full advantage of.


In order to do that effectively, I would like to draw your attention to our new Legal Members’ Brochure that should be dropping into all inboxes very shortly, which in my view, highlights the vast range of opportunities and benefits of you being a member of the CA.


There tends to be – quite rightly – a lot of focus on our campaigning work, and the successes we have had there, and of course the Parliamentary and stakeholder lobbying we carry out, not forgetting the large number of groups we are involved in, so we can secure the change we want and we can make the whole process easier for our member firms and their clients.


But, it’s also important to note how we support individual members, and the new Brochure highlights the many areas where we do this, from helping keep conveyancers’ knowledge up to date via our events, webinars, workshops, online resources and Guidance on various topics, to our wide range of Protocols to be followed – including Technical and Cyberfraud versions – plus our engagement with other stakeholders such as lenders, agents, and not forgetting our wonderful Affiliate members that play a crucial role in the Association, especially in terms of the guidance they provide.


Networking with both our Affiliates and, of course, your peer group is a big benefit and I’ve lost count of the number of times, a firm representative has shared their way of working or thinking in an area, and it’s then been adopted by so many of our member firms to everyone’s benefit.


That willingness to share best practice, to talk through potential solutions to sector issues, and not to keep it all in for fear of giving up company ‘secrets’, never ceases to surprise me and I know it is valued by many members.


So your membership is not just helping us shape the industry and the sector in the way that we want, but it is also helping you shape your own business and practices, because after all you continually work together with your peer group, and if you are singing from the same hymn sheet then the sound you make is likely to be that much sweeter.


And what is sometimes also overlooked here is that all of the above counts towards individual conveyancers’ ongoing competence and, for example, CPD requirements.


You will no doubt have seen the recent communication from the SRA regarding how it intends to assess firm’s continued competence, and it highlights residential conveyancing as an area in which – along with probate matters – it has received the most reports about solicitors over the past four years.


As a result it intends to carry out thematic inspections on residential conveyancing firms saying, “We will assess whether, and if so, how solicitors are meeting their obligations to keep their knowledge and skills up-to-date…” It also said it will write to conveyancing firms “to remind them of their obligation to make sure that the solicitors they employ maintain their competence”.


So, this being firmly on the radar of the SRA and being so important for firms, you’ll understand why CA membership can support and help you meet these competency requirements going forward.


Whether it’s our events, webinars, training sessions, or indeed the guidance and advice we issue that you read, understand and utilise, it can all be recorded within your CPD record.


One of the requirements of the CLC, for example, is that licence holders have to keep their professional knowledge up to date, which means (at least) six hours of training/mentoring/coaching activity per year, or eight hours if you hold a dual probate and conveyancing licence.


As you will know, the CLC expect to be able to see a record of that activity, and therefore record-keeping must be up to date, so by making the most of your involvement with the CA, and taking advantage of what we provide, you should be able to advance your knowledge and keep up to date with your regulatory responsibilities in the area of CPD.


Next month we have the opportunity to all meet up again, at our member meetings on the 14th September. It has been a few months since the last sessions and I, and the entire CA Exec and team, are looking forward to us all getting under one roof again, to share industry and CA-specific updates, to (no doubt) provide a state of the sector overview, and to allow member firms to share their stories, ask their questions, and hopefully receive the answers and support they want from all of us.


If you know of any other conveyancing firms who you feel would benefit from CA membership, then please share the new Member brochure or simply put them in touch with our excellent Secretariat who will be able to get the ball rolling.


On that note, enjoy the rest of your summer – let’s hope the UK weather improves at least – and I’m looking forward to seeing you all again in York next month.


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

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