Continuing competence, CPD and training records – how LAG can help you
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Marc Bloomfield
Description: Legal profession
Solicitors – do you remember the days before November 2016, when you could demonstrate professional competence as a solicitor by attending 16 hours of courses a year? As a training provider at my last job and here, there were always a lot of people booking onto courses in October. You could also meet some of the requirements by recording your reading of relevant texts and indeed by delivering training.
Since November 2016, the requirement has been to demonstrate ‘continuing competence’. At LAG, we want to flag up all the ways in which we can help members of the profession demonstrate their competence. Reading Legal Action articles counts towards your competence training, so you can record the time you spend reading the magazine, either online or in print. Your organisation should ensure that you have a training record. If not, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) provides a template training record. You will see that you can enter reading material on the template, so do remember to add whatever time you spend reading Legal Action every month it comes out.
Barristers, CILEx members and costs lawyers – links are at the end of this article regarding your requirements. For example, for barristers ‘reading or research’ counts. Interestingly, the Bar Standards Board (BSB) lists what cannot be counted, including:
updating social media accounts including Twitter;
following a social media account; and
blogging unrelated to your current or proposed practice.
We consulted a number of practitioners about what they do in their practices and what LAG could do to help out. Based on that feedback, we will endeavour to remind people in each issue of Legal Action that reading the magazine is something that can be recorded on your training record.
Of course, attending our training courses also counts towards continuing competence/CPD. We will also put information on all our marketing material for training courses, and remind everyone at the beginning and the end of courses that attendance should be recorded on training records.
We understand how busy everyone is and how hard it is to remember all the steps that you have to take, so we hope this will be useful. As with all things, though, just as you get on top of new processes, further change is being considered. The Legal Services Board has recently confirmed that ‘it will develop and consult on a more robust approach to ensuring lawyers remain competent throughout their careers’.
If there is anything more we can do, please let us know at: lag@lag.org.uk.

About the author(s)

Description: Carol Storer - author
Carol Storer was interim director of LAG from March 2019 to March 2021. She was director of the Legal Aid Practitioners Group for 10 years until...