The Legal Services Board (LSB) has published its business plan for the year 2020/21, with plans remaining flexible over the coming months as the legal sector deals with and then recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic. The LSB is also committed to playing a role in supporting that recovery.
The business plan was agreed by the LSB Board on 26 March 2020 following a public consultation that ran from 13 December 2019 to 14 February 2020. It outlines that the LSB will continue to make progress on its five-year policy objectives on public legal education, ongoing competence and technology.
The LSB has already reviewed some of its planned activity to ensure it is not placing unnecessary burden on regulators as they deal with the Covid-19 outbreak. However, the LSB remains committed to ensuring standards are maintained and consumers are protected.
Projects in the upcoming financial year, include developing quality indicators for the sector, ensuring ongoing competence, and ensuring IGR compliance.
2020/21 is the final year of the LSB’s current three-year corporate strategy. A significant project in the new business plan is to publish the LSB’s first “state of the nation” analysis of the legal services sector and develop a new strategy for the sector following wide-scale engagement.
Dr Helen Phillips, Chair of the Legal Services Board, said:
“The Covid-19 pandemic is having a profound impact on individuals and families across the UK. Equally, businesses and institutions are impacted, including those that support access to justice and underpin the rule of law.
“While the LSB’s purpose is to secure effective regulation of the legal services market in the public interest, much of our effort over the coming months will be devoted to supporting others. To help them deal with the challenges they face now and, critically, to orientate our actions around recovery from the pandemic and the role regulation might have to play in that. So, while we intend to deliver as fully as we can against our business plan, we will retain the flexibility we need to play our part in coping with the crisis.
“Indeed, Covid-19 provides a stark reminder of how important it is for people who need legal support and advice to be able to access it. Many people are facing challenges related to housing, finance and employment and it’s vital that they know their rights and responsibilities. The LSB is committed to working with partners across the legal sector to reshape services to better meet the needs of society.”
The business plan also outlines how the LSB will increase its research activities, including developing better mechanisms for tapping into public attitudes to legal services. The LSB is setting up a panel of members of the public that it can listen to and consult as part of its policy development processes.
- The Business Plan is on the LSB’s website – https://www.legalservicesboard.org.uk/our-work/current-work/business-plan-2020-21
- The Legal Services Act 2007 created the LSB as a new regulator with responsibility for overseeing the regulation of legal services in England and Wales. The new regulatory regime became active on 1 January 2010.
- The LSB oversees ten approved regulators, which in turn regulate individual legal practitioners. The approved regulators, designated under Part 1 of Schedule 4 of the 2007 Act, are the Law Society, the Bar Council, the Master of the Faculties, the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives, the Council for Licensed Conveyancers, the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys, the Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys, the Association of Costs Lawyers, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. In addition, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland is an approved regulator for probate activities only but does not currently authorise anyone to offer this service.