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  • 23rd February 2015

SRA announce new approach to CPD from April 2015

Solicitors will be able to tailor their own continuing professional development (CPD) more closely to their own specific needs from 1 April this year.
This more flexible approach to CPD has been approved by the Legal Services Board and reflects a radical change in the way the SRA ensures the continuing competence of firms and individuals. The approach requires solicitors to meet their regulatory obligation to provide a proper standard of service by regularly reflecting on their practice, and identifying and putting into place a programme of individual learning and development.

It replaces the current hours-based system for CPD. Solicitors can choose to move to the new approach from April 2015 and it will be applicable to all solicitors from 1 November 2016.

Julie Brannan, Director of Education and Training, said: "Our role is to ensure that consumers of legal services can be confident that those we regulate are retaining their professional competence. Our new approach enables us to uphold standards while also permitting solicitors and firms to determine training and development according to their specific needs and learning styles.
"It is a much more rigorous approach than at present as solicitors will need to think hard about what they need to do on a regular basis to ensure they remain competent to practise."

Continuing professional development is central to securing good outcomes for consumers. Solicitors will need to make an annual declaration that they have thought about their learning and development and addressed any needs they identify. As the new approach is a significant culture change, the SRA will also be providing resources to support the profession in identifying and putting in place effective training and development.

The SRA consulted on the agreed way forward last year: