what to report to the COLP

What to report to the COLP -SRA Compliance

Introduction

As promised in our last article (and requested by others) we have devised a guidance list of information that members of staff of a law firm should consider reporting to the COLP (Compliance Officer for Legal Practice)

You can download this article as a PDF by clicking on the link below

What to Report

The reporting obligation of the COLP is the same as the COFA and it is therefore incumbent on all member of staff to notify the COLP when they consider an issue has arisen as detailed below. The duty to report a matter to the COLP applies to everyone and if an issue is noted it is the individual’s responsibility to report this to them as quickly as possible and not to leave it or ignore it.

Failure to make a report could draw you into an investigation or result in the matter deteriorating further with additional consequences: –

  1. You have breached any of the Principles or Codes of Conduct
  2. You are aware that a colleague has breached any of the principles or codes of conduct
  3. You are declared bankrupt
  4. You are found guilty of a crime receive a criminal charge, conviction or caution
  5. You become aware that another person has been convicted of a criminal charge, conviction or caution
  6. You are the victim of discrimination of any kind by any person
  7. You believe another person is being discriminated against
  8. You become aware that information you have previously supplied to the SRA was false or incorrect
  9. You become aware that information provided by another person was false or incorrect
  10. You believe you may have been negligent, or it is alleged you have been negligent
  11. You are concerned about any health and safety matters
  12. You become aware that you or the firm has been hit by a Cyber Breach
  13. You become aware of data theft or you lose client data (also tell the data compliance officer)
  14. You have disclosed client information in error to another party
  15. You need to make an unauthorised disclosure (without the consent of the client)
  16. You are contacted by the SRA or any other authority about your conduct or the firm’s conduct
  17. Any person threatens to report you or the firm to the SRA for any reason even where such a report would be unfounded
  18. You believe another firm has breached the Principles or Codes of Conduct
  19. You become aware that the firm has been a victim of fraud
  20. You become aware that another person is taking action or is hiding something that is likely or will be a breach of the Codes of Conduct or Principles
  21. You are requested by another person to keep the information confidential that you believe is an attempt to prevent you from making a report

When to Report

The answer to this one is simple – Immediately on the discovery, do not delay as it could prejudice an investigation.

The Investigation

As with the COFA article, a reminder for the COLP on what you should consider when a report is made to you: –

  1. Was the breach caused due to delay, error, or negligence?
  2. Was the breach an innocent mistake or was it deliberate?
  3. Was the report made promptly?
  4. Was the breach an isolated incident or a series of incidents?
  5. How much money is involved or how severe is the problem?
  6. Was there any loss to the client or any other party?
  7. Could the breach have been easily avoided?
  8. Does a report need to be made to the SRA?

Deciding on a report to the SRA can become a complex area and importantly getting things wrong can lead to consequences for failure to notify the SRA of a matter which they later decide was reportable.

Our SRA Compliance Services

At The Strategic Partner, we work with firms and their COLP’s and COFA’s to assist them with the management of risk, compliance and regulation through our two compliance solutions or we can provide individual training and guidance.

We always provide bespoke services as we recognise that every law firm is different. It is essential to provide guidance, consultancy, written documents, training and procedures that meet the exact requirement of the firm to overcome rather than provision templated solutions.

You can view our compliance services by clicking on the links below. Our solutions are cost-effective and provide firms with the necessary solutions to comply with the:

  • Codes of Conduct
  • SRA Accounts Rules
  • Regulations including AML
  • Other legalisation that affects law firms

These are comprehensive packages set at affordable prices for all firms.

For more information about our Risk, Regulation & Compliance Services, you can call us on 0203 911 9710 or you can email us at info@thestrategicpartner.co.uk. Links to our brochures are as follows:-

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