Are you a Legal Service Provider that has, or is seeking to have, a contract with the Legal Aid Agency (LAA)? The Specialist Quality Mark (SQM) or Lexcel accreditation is now mandatory for any firm working under an LAA contract.
Our SQM (Specialist Quality Mark) Pre-Audit / Pre-Application Service is designed to assist all types of legal practices, regardless of the size of the firm, in both obtaining and maintaining SQM accreditation.
We work with the law firm to ensure that the necessary policies, processes, and reviews are in place and assist with both the documentation and evidence of the requirements for the Standard.
We can also assist you with obtaining and maintaining your Lexcel Accreditation.
Law Firm Compliance
This service has been designed to assist those in the firm to identify and take the necessary actions when applying for SQM or preparing for their annual renewal.
The SQM framework is based on the following key quality areas:
- Access to service
- Seamless service
- Running the organisation
- People management
- Running the service
- Meeting clients’ needs
- Commitment to quality
Benefits of achieving a quality standard
Achieving the SQM accreditation for your firm, in addition to complying with the requirements of your legal aid contract, if applicable, can bring several additional benefits, including:
- Improved risk management systems and procedures
- Improved practice management
- Improved service levels
- Marketing Opportunities
- Increased efficiency and profitability
How we can help with your SQM Accreditation Application
We realise that audits can be stressful and time-consuming, particularly for senior staff involved in the process.
Having the support of TSP through the process provides you with professional advice and guidance on meeting the SQM Standard, saving your senior team time in the process and the knowledge that you are working with an experienced and knowledgeable provider reduces some of that audit stress and burden.
Our service includes staff interviews and file reviews to focus your team on making sure that they have all the required knowledge to pass their interview and that the Standard’s requirements are working in practice and evident on a good sample of your closed files. This should then flag any potential gaps and assist you in making sure that current files are also compliant for selection by your auditor on the day.
We can also provide guidance and assistance in addressing the corrective actions required because of an SQM audit. – please contact us for more information on our post SQM audit service.
Is your firm compliant?
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Our SQM Pre-Audit and Pre-Application Service – an overview
Our pre-audit service includes reviewing your compliance in all seven of the required areas, identifying any gaps and reporting to you. We will achieve this through
- Reviewing the firm’s policies and procedures – this is to ensure the firm’s policies and procedures meet the requirements of SQM Standard and to identify any required updates.
- Interviewing staff – We will interview a good sample of your staff to ensure they have a sufficiently good working knowledge of the firm’s policies and procedures relevant to SQM, and that they fully understand the firm’s approach, enabling them to answer the key questions asked by SQM auditors.
- File Review – Undertaking file reviews on a sample of closed files to ensure that the processes and procedures are demonstrated on file and confirm that the standard has been met for file reviews. For an additional fee (see fee table below), we can also perform your ongoing SQM file reviews through site attendance or remotely via your case management system (if accessible).
- Preparation – Completion of the necessary application and preparing a pack of documents and information for the assessment once you are satisfied that everything is in place, including liaising with the auditor in advance of the audit.
- Attendance – where the necessary attending site for the audit day is to work with the firm and the auditor as required.
Please download our brochure to read about the service in more detail: SQM Accreditation Services
We can also provide the firm with updated policies, procedures, plans and record forms if required – please refer to our Risk, Regulation and Compliance Service (which also includes AML where relevant to the firm), which provides a set of compliant policies and more.
Click here to find out more about our Risk, Regulation and Compliance Services, including AML
About The Strategic Partner
The Strategic Partner is a knowledge hub, consultancy, and service provider for law firms, Professional Indemnity Insurers and those who interact with the Legal industry.
Our focus is to provide quality services to all clients, enriching their businesses with our knowledge and expertise and becoming an integrated and valuable asset.
We have developed a range of packaged and bespoke services and solutions for both the Legal and Insurance Sectors which are all aimed at bringing intelligence, efficiency and where appropriate, enhanced profitability.
Our goal is to become a truly valued partner to all businesses we work with and to assist them with any challenges they face to overcome them and strengthen their business. We pride ourselves on the depth and breadth of our knowledge and experience alongside, that of our Partners and will work with both law firms and insurers of all sizes to achieve their goals wherever possible.