Legal Web Watch: CPD/competence special

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Changes to CPD for solicitors

All solicitors should by now be aware that changes are afoot with CPD! But there is no need to panic as we are now within a transition period during which you can plan how you wish to appoach CPD and ready yourself for adopting the new competence regime which will become compulsory from November 2016.

For the years 2014/15 and 2015/16 you can continue, as previously, to complete 16 hours’ CPD or you can choose to follow the new competency regime.

Continuing with CPD

Until October 2016, you can continue to record time spent on CPD activities. There is no longer a requirement to obtain 25 per cent of this face to face, so you can obtain all of your 16 hours’ CPD by doing online courses such as ours.

Adopting the new competency regime

The SRA’s new approach to continuing competence was introduced in April and can be adopted at any time before it becomes compulsory from November 2016. This new approach puts the responsibility on you to:

  • reflect on your practice to identify your learning and development needs;
  • plan how you will address your learning and development needs;
  • think about how you can address you learning and development needs; and
  • record and evaluate your learning and development activity.

There is detailed guidance on the SRA’s site and basic suggested templates to help you plan and record.

Many solicitors will welcome the freedom to be able to organise their own training programmes to suit their specific needs. On the other hand, the regime does impose a responsibility that is not as readily discharged simply by attending a lecture or purchasing a course. In practice CPD providers are and will be redesigning their offerings to meet your new requirements. We’ve redesigned our courses.

Changes to CPD for barristers

For 2015 barristers should continue to obtain CPD as before from accredited providers. The only change introduced is that they should now quote the Accredited CPD Provider’s ID as courses are now self-accredited by the Provider. We are an accredited provider and our 2015 courses for barristers will be available soon.

The BSB is currently consulting on proposed changes to CPD to be effective from 2017. The new regime will:

  • emphasise your individual responsibility for identifying your own training and development needs;
  • remove the requirement that you need to carry out a certain number of CPD hours;
  • emphasise your individual responsibility for achieving specific learning outcomes, rather than simply measuring the effort involved.

Although the detail of the scheme is very different to the SRA scheme, the effect is similar: barristers will become responsible for organising their own training programmes to suit their specific needs.

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