Price and Service Transparency

The SRA has been very public about its intention to take action against any firm that is not able to comply with the transparency code and this may also be an indication to the SRA that a firm is prepared to allow non-compliance with the transparency code, which then means it is also in breach of other elements of the codes of conduct.

This is unnecessary attention that a firm can avoid by ensuring their website is correctly drafted with the necessary information provided. A law firm should not want to expose itself to an investigation by not complying with the transparency requirements which are there to be seen and assessed.

This can be a time-consuming task and The Strategic Partner has developed an approach that provides for quick and compliant content to be drafted and added to a website and therefore, delivering full compliance and avoiding negative and unwanted attention.

Find Out More

For more information about our Price and Service Transparency service, you can call us on 0203 911 9710 or you can email us at info@thestrategicpartner.co.uk. You can also download our Risk, Regulation and Compliance Service including AML Service brochure by clicking on the link below.

Fee Transparency Services – The Detail

It is important for firms to be able to demonstrate their compliance with the SRA Transparency Rules. Failure to comply with the requirement is publicly available information (as it sits on your website) and provides an insight into a firm’s approach to regulation generally. Whether right or wrong, it gives an indication of potential wider non-compliance with the requirements of the SRA and puts the firm at risk.

At The Strategic Partner, we work with firms to ensure their website is compliant and have developed a cost-effective solution that can bring a firm in line with the requirements, within 24 hours of taking instructions.

Our Transparency Compliance Service

The SRA Transparency rules which came into force in December 2018, require firms to publish on their website their price and service information, if they promote, as part of their usual business, the availability of certain common services. These include:

  • Residential conveyancing
  • Probate
  • Motoring offences
  • Immigration
  • Employment tribunals (public and businesses)
  • Licensing applications (businesses)
  • Debt recovery (businesses)

The SRA Price and Service Transparency rules also require all firms with a website to publish the following details

  • Their complaints procedure, including how and when a complaint can be made to the Legal Ombudsman or to the SRA.
  • Provide the total cost for each service and if not possible, a range of costs. Ensure that you state both the price net and gross of VAT.
  • Make it clear what your hourly rates are and when they will apply.
  • Detail obvious disbursements and their amounts and also include the price net and gross of VAT.
  • Provide the details of the fee earners who will be dealing with the work in a particular category and their supervisors. Confirm their qualification and experience through a brief summary of expertise and experience.
  • Where you offer conditional fees of Damages Based Agreement, explain when a client will be required to make payment of costs.
  • Detail the services that will be included in your fixed price or range of prices.
  • Where possible, highlight any obvious services that would not be included in the fixed pricing.
  • Identify key stages of each matter and the expected time it will take for the matter to be resolved. Where possible, provide a time scale for each stage.

However, whilst the SRA has published its guidance on what is required of firms, many firms continue to struggle to get to grips with the transparency rules and deliver, onto their websites, a fully compliant pricing structure, and complaints procedure.

If you have been contacted by the SRA requesting a declaration of transparency compliance, or if you simply require the confidence to know that your pages are correct, we can provide a quick and review which will confirm whether your firm’s website is compliant, and if not, we can assist you in getting the correct content onto the appropriate section of your website – contact our team today on 0203 911 9710, email us info@thestrategicpartner.co.uk or make an online enquiry here to request your transparency fee rules review.

Penalties for non-compliance can be severe

The SRA has already made web-sweeps of firms’ websites and contacted firms where they found evidence of non-compliance. This has also resulted in a small number of firms being subject to disciplinary procedures for persistent non-compliance, where the regulator has imposed internal sanctions including fines and rebukes.

The SRA has made it clear that they will continue with their audit of law firm websites and that they will continue to engage with firms that flout the rules, this will include firms that have attempted to get it right but have missed the mark. In fact, the SRA’s 2020-21 business plan commits to increasing the resources it uses to reviewing law firm websites and enforcing the rules.

Avoiding a disciplinary procedure, sanction, or subsequent fine, is without question the desired result. A firm being able to ensure the information on their website is fully in line with the requirements will be able to avert an expensive and time-consuming investigation, with possible disciplinary actions being taken against them.

How The Strategic Partner can help with your Fee Transparency compliance

At The Strategic Partner, we work with firms on a range of risk and compliance matters providing essential support to firms and delivering to them a robust risk and compliance strategy that will include price transparency.

If you are generally comfortable with your compliance approach and just require help with price transparency, we will work with you on this specific task. The cost of our transparency review is £50.

Following a transparency review of your website, we can work with you to provide a service that involves:

  1. A consultation with you to gather information
  2. Writing your website copy and guidance on where to place this
  3. Liaising with your web provider to upload the copy or we can assist with updating your website ourselves

Our Compliance Expertise

The Strategic Partner prides itself on offering firms fast-track solutions to compliance and helping them stay there into the future.

We can also work with you on an ongoing basis providing you with robust solutions to manage risk and compliance or to provide you with other services and management.

Our compliance solutions have been specially designed to deliver effective risk and compliance solutions that are cost-effective. You can see full details by clicking the following links: –

The Cost

The pricing for the provision of your transparency information will depend on several factors and will be confirmed following an initial conversation and review of your website. We will work with your firm to

ensure the pricing is cost-effective, affordable, and deliver full value to the firm. We will provide, where possible, a fixed fee cost for the transparency service, and you will be given a full breakdown of what the fee will include.

As an indication, a firm requiring transparency documents, ready to publish on their website, for 3 services will likely be charged £300+VAT and members of The Strategic Partner will be offered discounts and member rates on these fees.

Enquiries

For more information about our Fee Transparency Services, you can call us on 0203 911 9710 or you can email us at info@thestrategicpartner.co.uk.

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