On Wednesday 22nd March, around 100 firms joined Director of Best Practice Gary Yantin and SRA Policy Executive Richard Williams to discuss the first five months of the SRA’s new approach to Continuing Competence. The conversation focused on how firms have implemented the new approach and how the SRA will monitor compliance with it.
“Firms should be asking: what do I need to do to do the job well?”
Richard stressed the importance of focussing on the quality of learning, rather than the quantity. He reflected on the previous approach to CPD, whereby solicitors and law firms would often leave training to the last minute, without a focus on what they should be learning. The new approach should help change that culture and encourage individuals to identify their learning needs, rather than the amount of time they spend on training. Richard also said that “learning and development has a huge business benefit”, a factor that should encourage firms to implement the new approach.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is set to come into full force in May 2018. It will present the most significant change to EU data protection in 20 years, meaning organisations must update their policies to ensure they are compliant. Further, all staff who are involved with the processing and storing of data must be familiar with their organisation’s data protection policy. We have therefore provided a data protection policy template to help your staff understand and follow your organisation’s data protection procedures.
The data protection policy should include:
Who is responsible for the data protection policy?
Staff should know who to approach if they have any questions regarding the data protection policy or anything related to the processing of personal data. Under GDPR, certain organisations are required to appoint a Data Protection Officer (DPO). It will be their role to advise the company on the rules needed to ensure compliance with data protection laws.
Over 22 leading firms joined Director of Best Practice Gary Yantin and SRA Policy Executive Richard Williams for the second continuing competence user group. This candid conversation between the firms and the regulator focussed on how firms are implementing continuing competence since the changes to CPD in November, and to share best practice.
Many firms currently implementing changes to CPD
Richard spoke about how many firms are still in the process of implementing continued competence. He voiced the importance that the SRA places on the new approach and advised that there will be an annual declaration as part of a renewal exercise to make sure firms are meeting regulatory obligations. Richard also made clear that the SRA will not be carrying out spot checks on firms, but will use the annual declaration in conjunction with other regulatory data to explore concerns that they may have with the competence or standard of service provided by a solicitor or firm.
Firms that license the Continuing Competence Module (CCM) now have the ability to create a separate login page for the CCM. This enables firms to create a fully immersive continuing competence experience that is separate from regular online training. On the ‘competence only’ login page, users focus on the reflection and planning stages of their learning before diving directly into their learning record.
This login page can be created through a straightforward modification to the regular CLMS hyperlink.
How to create the direct hyperlink
To do so, simply append
competencylogin.aspx to the end of the regular link. The new link should look something like this:
Note: Firms that use Single Sign On should append
When a user logs into the system with this URL, they should see the Continuing Competence Module:
Data Protection: Privacy at Work
VinciWorks has just released the only data protection course your company needs. This course
combines the latest in policy and law with best practice guidelines for data protection. It provides real-world scenarios, interactive features and review questions to test participants’ understanding of key points. To begin, an interactive game will guide users through the complex web of decisions that every business must make when it comes to implementing data protection policies, providing a deeper understanding of the core issues.
Course modules such as Protecting Personal Data are chosen based on each users needs
Industry and Role-specific Customisable Course
This 20-minute course is our most customisable yet. At the start of the course, each user specifies their individual role, responsibilities, location, and more to create a user-specific learning plan. With over 1,000 different course options available, anyone in your organisation can take this data protection course.
After taking the course users will:
- Understand how data protection affects real-world scenarios, with review questions to test participants’ understanding of key points
- Know the latest in policy and law with best practice guidelines for data protection
- Know how to comply with data protection laws for the user’s specific role in your organisation
- Learn how changes to regulation like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) affect their work
In the waning days of 2016, as we huddled around our board room fireplace with hot chocolate and crumpets, we took some time to reflect on a stellar 2016 and look forward to the incredible new innovations yet to come in the new year.
14 new courses
Traditionally VinciWorks has provided compliance training primarily to the legal sector. We proudly train over 20% of all UK solicitors and work with 60 of the top 100 global law firms.
In 2016 we expanded our corporate offering significantly and created courses that are tailored to many new industries.
This year we introduced the Corporate Compliance Suite, which includes courses on the Bribery Act, money laundering, information security, cyber security, diversity and the Modern Slavery Act. There are sector-specific courses for accountants, corporates, estate agents and financial services firms.
Other new courses
Director of Best Practice Gary Yantin hosted the first continuing competence user group this week. Over 19 firms convened on a conference call to discuss how firms are implementing continuing competence, and to share best practice.
Early Takeaway – Education is Key
The firms on the call agreed that it is still early days for continuing competence and many solicitors haven’t even begun their 2016-2017 learning plan. However the firms stressed that educating solicitors over the next month on the new requirements is a key first step. There have been some creative education initiatives at firms, including ‘chair drops’ of learning material on every chair, small workshops and video tutorials.
Some of the other best practice recommendations that were shared were:
- Incentivise learning and development by tying it to remuneration
- Modify performance appraisals to include continuing competence
- When enrolling a solicitor in a course or suggesting training – also suggest some SRA competencies that are related to that training
Under the SRA’s New Approach to Continuing Competence, solicitors are required to reflect on the SRA’s Competence Statement, identify knowledge gaps and undertake learning to bridge those gaps.
All of VinciWorks’ courses correspond to competencies in the Competence Statement and can be used to bridge learning gaps. The guide below is a complete mapping of our courses with the Competence Statement.
Download the guide
The SRA’s new approach to continuing competence comes into effect Nov 1.
According to our research, only 25% of firms have implemented the changes to CPD. If your firm has not begun the transition, you should expect a time-consuming and complex process.
Confused where to begin? Below are four practical steps you can take to prepare your firm for the changes to CPD.
1. Become Experts
VinciWorks has published an hour-long webinar for compliance officers and L&D staff. It takes a deep dive into the regulation, reviews SRA guidance and presents best-practice case studies. Watch the 1-hour webinar
2. Train your staff
VinciWorks has published an hour-long webinar for compliance officers and L&D staff. It takes a deep dive into the regulation, reviews SRA guidance and presents best-practice case studies. Preview 10-minute course
3. Record your learning
The Continuing Competence Module is the first compliance solution designed specifically for the SRA’s new approach to CPD. It guides solicitors through the reflective learning process and enables them to keep their learning record organised and up-to-date. Sign up for free
4. Monitor Compliance
The VinciWorks Compliance Learning Management System enables administrators to monitor and track compliance with continuing competence. The dashboard provides a holistic view of solicitors’ learning plans and progress. See Demo
5. Talk to us
VinciWorks has already helped tens of firms transition to the new regime. We are in close contact with the SRA and have developed a toolkit for adopting the new approach. To learn more about our consulting services call us at 0208 815 9308 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As the November deadline for changes to CPD approaches, many law firms have a clearer vision for how to implement the SRA’s new approach to continuing competence.
The top feature request we have received is the ability to customise the VinciWorks Continuing Competence Module to fit with internal language and procedures.
Every single word and link can be customised
As you can see from the screenshot below, we have redesigned the software so that every word in the module can be modified. Some of the changes firms have made so far include:
- Links to internal career development frameworks
- Changing the words “learning needs” to “learning objectives”
- Hiding stage 4 of the process (the annual declaration) at certain times of year