The Legal Services Board (LSB) has asked for views on its proposed business plan and budget for the 2024/25 year to ensure it remains focused on “delivering a legal services market that better meets society’s needs.”
To achieve this it has outlined a 13.9% increase on last year’s budget of £4.7m, to £5.3m, a real terms increase of 7.2% when adjusted for inflation.
The 2024/25 plan represents the fourth year of its 10 years plan in which the LSB outlined 3 key objectives for legal services; fairer outcomes, stronger confidence, and better services. The super-regulator has also said that alongside plans to strengthen its oversight of regulator’s performance, it acknowledges that it need to further investigate the SRA’s intervention into Axiom Ince and and ensure that agreed undertakings in the CILEX/CRL dispute have been actioned.
On progress against its 10 year plan the LSB point to new rules on consumer empowerment and the creation of the Market Transparency Coordination and Oversight Group (MTCOG), alongside ensuring regulators are monitoring the development of skills and expertise through ongoing competence, as evidence of its commitment to improving access to legal services.
Hot on the heels of the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority (SRA) and Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) emphasis on anti-money laundering, the LSB has said it will remain focused on supporting regulators to achieve regulatory objectives around the prevention and detection of economic crime.
Other areas of focus for 2024/25 that are underway in 2023/24 include:
- Collaborative work with regulators and others in the sector to address equality, diversity and inclusion gaps in the professions.
- Ensuring regulators’ approaches to disciplinary and enforcement build public confidence and uphold standards.
- Considering the role of regulation in ensuring safe uses of artificial intelligence (AI) that benefit legal services users as part of our work on technology and innovation.
- Considering the role of regulation in improving access to justice.
- Making the case for a strategic approach to consumer vulnerability and user design in legal services.
Matthew Hill, Chief Executive of the Legal Services Board, said:
“We have made good progress in delivering fairer outcomes, stronger confidence and better services via our oversight of the regulators, but further work is needed. Over the next year we want to strengthen our direct oversight of the regulators, ensure high standards and oversee the full implementation of polices that will drive change in the sector.”
“We recognise the challenges of the current economic climate, however we believe that it is vital that legal services users and the public can rely on high standards of regulation. Strengthening our oversight will mean we have better capability to see issues arising before they cause harm to consumers and the public.”
The consultation closes at 5.00pm on Monday 12 February 2024. The LSB will be hosting an online consultation event on Wednesday 17 January, 10.30am-12pm, to discuss its draft business plan and budget in more detail.