News release

Keynote address reinforces SRA’s commitment to reform

Jane Furniss, Board member and Chair of the SRA's Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, was the keynote speaker at a LexisNexis and Black Solicitors Network (BSN) event in London last week [2 October].

During her address, the Chair outlined the SRA's work in improving its approach to regulation as outlined in its Regulatory Reform programme published in May. She also made reference to work being done on decision-making and understanding and addressing causes of disproportionality in regulatory outcomes.

In her appraisal, Ms Furniss explained that the SRA had done significant work in making the SRA more approachable but that she understood that more needed to be done to change how the Authority was perceived.

She also reassured small firms that the SRA recognised there was an immense challenge in the way it regulated small firms. She pointed to a proposed review of the COLP and COFA arrangements for this sector; plans to appoint a small business appeal champion, and removing the requirement for the SRA to see accountants' reports unless they were qualified.

Jane Furniss said: "This event demonstrates our determination to ensure that regulation is fair and proportionate, and gets the message across that the SRA has a human face, that we are approachable.

"We have always recognised that a 'one-size fits all model of regulation' cannot be applied to a complex sector where one size fits few.

"Significant progress has been made to make sure that equality and diversity are embedded into leadership and staff at all levels. We are considering fully the findings of Professor Gus John's Independent Comparative Case Review to improve the consistency, justifiability and transparency of our regulatory decisions."

Solicitors from a range of different sized firms and practices, as well as SRA staff, attended the free half-day event, which also included workshops in "Supervision in Practice" and an "Overview of Supervision". Guests also attended an after-event drinks reception and peer networking session,

A copy of the speech is available at

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