New competency year starts today

Today marks the first day of the new competency year and one year since the changes to CPD became compulsory. All solicitors in England and Wales need to ensure that they have reflected on their practice and that they have addressed any identified learning needs. The SRA also requires solicitors and firms to make an annual declaration that they have done so.

What should you do if you have not yet dealt with a learning need?

To help users of the VinciWorks Continuing Competence Module organise their current learning needs, we’ve rolled-over all deferred needs from last year to this new year.
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New data protection and anti-money laundering regulations

Judge sitting at his desk

Today, Section 11 of the Criminal Finances Act 2017 comes into force. It amends the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) and affects the regulated sector. The new data sharing regime enables regulated persons to request and share information with their regulated peers, free in most respects from contravening data protection regulations. Any disclosure “made in good faith” that does not breach any duties of confidence or “any other restriction on the disclosure of information.”

The purpose is to encourage the sharing of information from different entities in the regulated sector and better enable the collation of multiple reports of potential money laundering into a single Suspicious Activity Report.
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New CLMS feature: manage activity requests without leaving your desk

Users can now easily request to take on a new learning activity, without leaving the office or writing an email. This new automated feature means administrators can easily authorise and track their staff’s learning activities.

With this new feature, users simply click on the “submit activity request form” option on the top right of their CLMS and enter the details of the activity they are requesting. Once the user has completed their request, their line manager will receive the request via email. Once the request is approved by the line manager, the activity will be appear under the user’s list of learning activities.
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Six principles of GDPR that you need to know about

Computer with a GDPR padlock on it

GDPR will come into full force in May 2018

The six principles of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) are similar in many ways to the eight principles of the Data Protection Act. While the six principles of GDPR do not include individuals’ rights or overseas transfers, these are included elsewhere in GDPR.

One key difference is that under GDPR, you must show how you comply with the principles, not just that you do. This is a separate requirement known as the accountability principle which is integrated across GDPR.

The six principles of data protection in GDPR are that data must be treated in a way that is:

1. Lawful, fair and transparent

There has to be legitimate grounds for collecting the data and it must not have a negative effect on the person or be used in a way they wouldn’t expect.

2. Limited for its purpose

Data should be collected for specified and explicit purposes and not used in a way someone wouldn’t expect.
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VinciWorks survey reveals staff at 1 in 4 companies unaware of financial crime policies

Hundreds of thousands of workers in both regulated and nonregulated sector at risk of facilitating tax evasion

With the Criminal Finances Act now in full force, VinciWorks has been helping businesses prepare with their new course, Tax Evasion: Failure to Prevent. The new law doesn’t just affect the regulated sector; any business that doesn’t have reasonable procedures in place to prevent facilitation of tax evasion could find themselves prosecuted.

So just how prepared are we for the Criminal Finances Act? VinciWorks surveyed over 250 UK companies with a combined workforce of around 430,000 people to find out just how much tax evasion risk companies are exposing themselves to, and if they have started to take action to mitigate those risks.
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Guide to anti-money laundering training requirements

What you need to know sign

The Money Laundering Regulations 2017 require relevant businesses to:

  • Make employees aware of the law relating to money laundering and terrorist financing
  • Regularly provide training on how to recognise and deal with transactions and other activities which may be related to money laundering or terrorist financing

What is a relevant business?

Any business operating in one of the following industries should have clear money laundering training procedures.

  • Accountants
  • Estate Agents
  • Financial Services
  • Law firms

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Fourth Directive ready anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing policy template

Anti-money laundering banner

In light of the new Money Laundering Regulations having come into full effect in June, VinciWorks has made available a free anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing policy template. The policy can easily be edited to suite your law firm or organisation, your industry and staff.

Download template

Here are some guidelines for what should be included in an anti-money laundering policy:

    • Introduction and an explanation of what money laundering and terrorist financing is
    • How does money get laundered?
    • Guidelines on differentiating between money laundering and terror financing

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Anti-Slavery Day – what is your business doing?

Anti-Slavery Day

Quick start guide to compliance with the Modern Slavery Act

Tomorrow, 18th October, marks UK Anti-Slavery Day. Created by an Act of Parliament to raise awareness of the millions of men, women and children held in slavery and deprived of their basic human freedom, it can also shine a light into the slivers of progress being made to tackle modern-day slavery.

“Modern slavery is like terrorism,” said International Development Secretary Priti Patel. “If we don’t tackle the root causes, the victims will come to Europe via Libya and Italy, and those problems will manifest themselves on the streets of London.”
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What have we learnt from cyber security breaches?

Threats to cyber security

The last year saw the highest number of cyber security breaches on record. Large reputable companies such as Tesco, Yahoo and TalkTalk have all been exposed for such breaches, with the companies facing large fines and a lack of confidence from consumers. What does this mean for us and how we keep our personal data, identity and money safe? Does this mean we are never safe? Not necessarily, but knowing how to keep your personal data and your business safe has never been more important. We have studied some of the largest data breaches and have the following tips for preventing cyber crime.

Your favourite colour is not a safe password

Although they didn’t realise it until 2016, the Yahoo data hack actually took place in 2013. This means that for three years users were continuing to use their accounts without knowing they were at risk. So what could have prevented one billion user accounts being hacked? For a start, make sure your password is not something that can easily be guessed, such as your favourite colour or your child’s name. Further, it is best practice to change your password at least once a year. This means that if any of your accounts have been hacked you have a much higher chance of protecting your personal information. Some businesses require some of their staff to change their passwords each year for this reason.
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Sanctions increased on North Korea

North Korea and USA Flag

Trade embargo essentially in effect

The Trump Administration has increased sanctions on North Korea in response to continuing nuclear tests from the rogue state. The Executive Order, signed on Thursday 21 September, effectively bans any business or person trading with any North Korean entity.

The US government can freeze any asset of any individual or business that trades in goods, services or technology with Pyongyang. Companies from sectors including banking, energy, manufacturing, textiles and fishing, as well as aircraft and ships travelling to North Korea are all included and face being banned from entry to the United States.
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