This questionnaire contains the following sections: -We recommend that you print the Instructions for Completion section for ease of reference as you complete thequestionnaire.INTRODUCTIONEffective risk management is an essential feature of all successful legal practices and is one of QBE’s keyconsiderations when making underwriting decisions. Our analysis tells us that firms which do not engage in ourrisk assessment process experience more turbulent claims histories than those firms that do. The primarypurpose of our questionnaire is, therefore, to raise awareness of risk management issues and to encourage theadoption of quality assurance principles to manage risk. It is not solely about results achieved, and we do notexpect all firms to score 100%. Rather, QBE aims to work with our insured clients to improve their managementprocesses so that the likelihood and value of claims is reduced. We recognise that this process takes time, butthis initiative is wholly consistent with our approach of continuity, stability, and our long-term commitment to theprofessional indemnity market.Your response to this questionnaire will be analysed to prepare a report on your business with reference to theindustry standard Lexcel, including prioritised action points for your consideration. The process of completing thequestionnaire might highlight issues that you would wish to address prior to returning the questionnaire to us. Toassist you in updating key practice documents, we have prepared a Core Management System document packthat is available on our website at:www.qbeeurope.com/professional-financial/broker-resources/quality_assurance.aspThe report, which is free of charge, will be delivered to you in hard copy. Removed hyperlink and ref to otherdocuments). By participating, you will benefit from an impartial review of your business and administrativepractices. Furthermore, the Partner / Solicitor completing the questionnaire process will earn valuable CPDpoints as this process is recognised by the SRA as a distance learning tool. Full details of CPD points awards areincluded in the following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section.Developed from the Lexcel Quality Assurance framework, the questionnaire is designed to provide you with atool to review your management structure and processes – an exercise that will assist both insurers and insuredsto assess risks and act accordingly. To make the questionnaire as holistic as possible, we have incorporatedwithin the Lexcel framework, overlapping requirements of the latest versions of the Solicitors Code of Conduct,Specialist Quality Mark, ISO 9001, Investors in People and also legislative and regulatory requirements.QBE is committed to the continued development of both service and market understanding to assist clientsthrough today’s challenges in business. This initiative underlines our long-term commitment to the SolicitorProfessional Indemnity market and to high standards of Quality Assurance.FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONSQ.
Lexcel is the Law Society’s practice management quality mark. Written specifically for the legalprofession, it is accepted as the most appropriate standard for Solicitors. Lexcel is used as theplatform on which to develop a risk management tool because the main causes of claims againstSolicitors are covered by Lexcel. In addition, the standard covers specific procedures for assessingand managing risk within your Practice. The Standard is regularly reviewed to take account ofdevelopments in the profession and to ensure that it remains relevant to the current businessenvironment.Is Lexcel relevant to smaller firms?The Lexcel review process involves consultation with a cross-section of stakeholders to ensure thatthe standard is of equal value to organisations of all sizes. A broad section of the legal profession,including sole practitioners, public sector legal departments, and qualifying insurers are thereforeconsulted as part of the revisions process. Suggestions are incorporated where appropriate, and inturn, these filter through to the QA questionnaire.Additionally, a good deal of QA processes, especially in relation to high PI risk factors, concentrateon a firm’s case management and client care. These areas of practice management are of vitalimportance in terms of mitigating losses and so the requirements are homogenous regardless ofPractice size.Do the requirements of QBEs Questionnaire conflict with any of our other obligations?The Questionnaire has been designed to be holistic and to support related obligations your practicemight have. This latest version of the questionnaire identifies specifically which aspect of thefollowing codes, standards and statutory requirements are addressed by each question, (theshortened term used in the questionnaire is shown in brackets):• Solicitors Code of Conduct (Sols Code)• Lexcel Practice Management Standard (Lexcel)• Specialist Quality Mark (SQM)• International Standard BS EN ISO 9001 (ISO 9001)• Investors in People (IiP)• Legislation and Regulations (Legal)There should be no conflicts between these requirements, however should you have any concerns inthis regard, your legal obligations should of course come first before non-mandatory standards.As some of the Acts and Regulations have lengthy titles and/or are repeated numerous times, wehave used abbreviations for these in the questionnaire and these are as follows:DDA: Disability Discrimination ActDPA: Data Protection ActEPA: Equal Pay ActERA: Employment Relations ActFRRO: Fire Risk Reform OrderFSMA: Financial Services and Markets ActHRA: Human Rights ActH&SaWA: Health & Safety at Work ActMLR: Money Laundering RegulationsPOCA: Proceeds of Crime ActRRA: Race Relations ActSDA: Sex Discrimination ActWhy has QBE asked me to complete a questionnaire?QBE’s approach to underwriting is based on knowledge and understanding. By completing thequestionnaire, you will help us to both better understand your organisation and make more informedunderwriting decisions when we’re servicing your business. However, please be assured that yourcompleted questionnaire does not form a part of the contract of insurance.How long will it take to complete?
You are invited to complete the standard form first. This is an extract from the comprehensive formcontaining questions relating to key business management issues that influence your exposure tonegligence claims. We estimate a completion time of 1 to 1½ hours for this part of the questionnaire.Please note that as the standard form represents a series of questions extracted from thecomprehensive form, the question numbers are not always sequential.You can then elect to complete the comprehensive form which provides an evaluation of your overallpractice management standards against the Lexcel standard. We estimate a completion time of anadditional 1½ to 2 hours for this part of the questionnaire.What will I receive?Respondents receive a written report showing their responses to the questionnaire and QBE’sfindings based on the criteria contained in the Lexcel standard. A detailed checklist will assist you inaddressing issues that might require attention – a feedback process enables you to submit changesthat you implement as a result of this process. The process and reports are free of charge whilst ahealth check against the Lexcel standard could cost several thousand pounds from an independentconsultant.How many CPD points do I achieve?For the standard form and feedback process – 3 hours.For the comprehensive form and feedback process – 6 hours.How do I collect my CPD points?The written report you will receive after completing the feedback process will incorporate a coursereference number for inclusion in your CPD log. We will also keep records of those completing boththe questionnaire and feedback process in case of query by the SRA.If my firm demonstrates that it has good practice management standards, what can I expectfrom QBE?QBE rewards good management practices. Our underwriters take the results of the qualityassurance process fully into consideration when setting premiums. We seek to provide our preferredclients with discounts from the standard rating model developed for this insurance portfolio.What will happen if my firm is seen to have poor practice management standards?If we feel that specific assistance is required to improve your practice management standards, we willask you to adopt our Core Management Systems and/or in some circumstances, provide you with theservices of an experienced consultant to develop your risk management controls further.Consultancy assistance is tailored to suit your needs taking into account the size of your firm, thesystems you already have in place, and any progress you may have already made towards arecognised Quality Standard. Whilst consultancy assistance is at the discretion of the underwriter,hundreds of firms have benefitted from QBEs quality assurance and risk management expertise overthe years and seen positive results.What would happen if I do not complete a questionnaire or do not agree to accept consultancyassistance?At best, QBE would only offer you model premium rates at the next renewal, but there is a distinctpossibility that they may not offer renewal terms to you. We are sure that you will appreciate thebenefits of improving your risk, if necessary, and would wish to work with us to achieve animprovement in respect of your practice management standards.What if our Practice already has the Lexcel Standard?If your practice has the Lexcel quality award, then it will already comply with the vast majority of therequirements in the questionnaire. A few of the requirements, however, are taken from outside theLexcel Standard as they relate to other business risks or aspects of quality assurance best practicethat are not currently included in Lexcel.Will completing the questionnaire process help with a visit from the Practice Standards Unit(PSU)?
Practice standards monitoring now comes within the role of the SRA and the scope of a monitoringvisit mainly addresses:1. The Solicitors’ Code of Conduct;2. Complaints handling and management;3. The Solicitors’ Accounts Rules;4. The Solicitors’ Financial Services Rules.There are major overlaps with the requirements of the questionnaire in respect of items 1 and 2 andto a lesser extent with items 3 and 4. Addressing our recommendations will therefore help todemonstrate to the SRA/PSU that you have adequate controls in place and that you are taking yourbusiness and risk management responsibilities seriously (see also the following FAQ).We understand that there are times when you might benefit from further reassurance of theeffectiveness of your quality assurance systems, such as prior to a Practice Standards Unit (PSU)visit. For this, we have developed our Practice Healthcheck. If you have completed ourcomprehensive questionnaire and are faced with a PSU visit, you may be entitled to a PracticeHealthcheck consultation with one of QBE’s quality assurance consultants. You should contact yourbroker in the first instance regarding this service.What about the Code of Conduct and Practice Rule 5 on Business Management?The Solicitors Code of Conduct was updated on 01 July 2007 and included a new rule - PracticeRule 5, placing greater emphasis on business operations including supervision, management andrisk management arrangements. This means that these issues are now to be dealt with as a matterof professional practice and could result in disciplinary proceedings if found to be lacking. Using thecomprehensive version of the questionnaire will help in the following ways:Risk AssessmentGuidance Note 39 to 5.01(1)l states that "Firms should have arrangements in place for assessing therisks attaching to each area of their operation."Guidance Note 40 goes on to say that "Ideally the scope of the arrangements should not be confinedto risks arising from professional negligence, but should extend to client-related and business-relatedrisks of all sorts. A non-exhaustive list might include complaints (including a complaints log); client-related credit risks and exposure; claims under legislation relating to such matters as data protection;IT failures and abuses; and damage to offices".The QA Questionnaire is a Risk Assessment Tool that can be used for this purpose. Questions arerated as High, Medium, Low, or non-PI risk so that resultant action points can be prioritised. Thecomprehensive version of the Questionnaire addresses both operational and business risks, andincludes questions on all issues included in this practice rule guidance note and more.Risk ManagementGuidance Note 5 to Practice Rule 5.01(1) states that "Firms will be expected to be able to produceevidence of a systematic and effective approach to management, and this may include theimplementation by the firm of one or more of the following:(a) guidance issued …. by the SRA or the Law Society on the supervision and execution of particulartypes of work …….,(b) the firms own properly documented standards and procedures;(c) practice management standards ... by the Law Society;(d) accounting standards and procedures … by the SRA;(e) external quality standards such as BS EN ISO 9000, Investors in People, or quality standardsrequired by the Legal Services Commission in connection with undertaking publicly funded work, orthe Lexcel standard, ….."
INSTRUCTIONS FOR COMPLETION ** PLEASE PRINT A COPY OF THIS PAGE FOR YOUR FUTURE REFERENCE BEFORE PROCEEDING WITH THE COMPLETION OF THE QUESTIONNAIRE.**Please answer the questions in the order they appear in the form. Please note that the questions in the standardform are not necessarily sequentially numbered. Your responses to the questions contained in this form shouldbe placed into the yellow input cells. These input cells change colour to white when data is recorded.This questionnaire contains three types of questions;1) short closed questions: where a just a simple Yes or No is required;2) longer closed questions: which include a bullet-point list of requirements and where it is possible to complywith all, some or none of the requirements listed;3) open questions: which have room for free text entries, however these are restricted to the section entitledYour Details only.In appropriate cases, there is also an option to select not applicable. Restrictions on selecting the N/A optionare shown as NB and may apply due to the size or structure of your practice or the work that you conduct. Themajority of questions also have additional guidance indicated by a G.At the end of each question there is a list of originating requirements. These are the standards, codes andstatutory obligations from which the questionnaire has been developed, and are as follows. these are listedbelow - the shortened term used in the questionnaire is shown in brackets:• Solicitors Code of Conduct (Sols Code)• Lexcel Practice Management Standard (Lexcel)• Specialist Quality Mark (SQM)• International Standard BS EN ISO 9001 (ISO 9001)• Investors in People (IiP)• Legislation and Regulations (Legal)Please refer to the sample questions below for examples of guidance, N/A restrictions and originatingrequirements.The following is an example of a short Yes or No type question. By clicking on the yellow input cell a drop-downarrow will appear to the right of the cell. Click on the arrow to reveal the drop-down menu and select theappropriate answer.The following is an example of a longer closed question which includes a bullet-point list of requirements. Youcan indicate compliance with all, some or none of the requirements listed. By clicking on the yellow input cell adrop-down arrow will appear to the right. Click on the arrow to reveal the drop-down menu and select theappropriate answer.
The following is an example of an open question. Click on the yellow input cell to input your response. Thisinput cell will not accept paragraph breaks. Please keep your answers as brief as possible but cover all salientpoints.To edit responses within an open question, click on the input cell and edit the text using the formula bar (indicatedbelow).The questionnaire can be saved any time during the completion process. Having completed the questionnaireclick on the save button. The completed questionnaire should be returned to your broker in the first instance. Ifyou have any questions please call your broker or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Continue Back
he following is an example of an open question. Click on the yellow input cell to input your response. Thisput cell will not accept paragraph breaks. Please keep your answers as brief as possible but cover all salientoints.o edit responses within an open question, click on the input cell and edit the text using the formula bar (indicatedelow).he questionnaire can be saved any time during the completion process. Having completed the questionnaireick on the save button. The completed questionnaire should be returned to your broker in the first instance. Ifou have any questions please call your broker or contact us at email@example.com. Continue to the next section Return to the previous section
What is the extent of your computerisation? Yes / No Software / Service usedTime Recording Individually:Time Recording Centrally:Accounts:Client Database:Case Management System:Conflict Searches:Central Diary:Diary Reminders:Record of Undertakings:E-Conveyancing:Website:E-mail:Verifying Client Identity:What is the scope and limitation of services provided by your Practice via e-mail / internet?What quality standards do you have in place? Yes / NoLexcel (Law Societys Quality Management Standard for Solicitors):Specialist Quality Mark (LSCs Quality Management Standard forpublicly funded work):ISO 9001 (International Model for Quality Management Systems):Investors In People (Training & Development Standard):ISO 14001 (Environmental Management Standard):BS 25999 (Business Continuity Standard):ISO 27001 (Formerly BS 7799 Information Security Standard):BS 8800 / ISO 18001 (Occupational Health & Safety Standard):
Other or none (please state):Do you provide financial services subject to the Solicitors Financial Services(Scope) Rules and the Solicitors Financial Services (Conduct of Business) Rules?If "No", continue to the next section.Have you allocated specific responsibility for reviewing updates and guidanceto these Rules and for advising relevant personnel accordingly?Are the Firms policies and procedures related to financial servicesup to date, readily available, and followed consistently?Other comments regarding the risk management of supplementary financial services provided: May we contact you in case of query? Continue Continue to the next section Back Return to the previous section
PREVENTION OF FINANCIAL CRIME (PFC)PFC2:PFC3:PFC6:PFC8:
PFC10:Percentage of questionnaire complete Continue Back
Do training arrangements include: • provision of induction training for new personnel on financial crime risks and preventative measures employed within the Practice; • monitoring of updates to legislation, regulations and professional guidance and provision of further training when necessary; • regular review of financial crime risks and provision of regular refresher training for all personnel? G: Training should include the specific risk areas where financial crime might be perpetrated, methodologies, warning signs, associated offences, channels for reporting, procedures (including client due diligence) to be followed, and the records to be made and kept. There is no N/A allowed on this question on the same basis as PFC9. [Code of Conduct: 5.01(b)] [Lexcel: 1.5b-d] [SQM: ~] [Legal: MLR 2007, POCA 2002, Anti-Terrorism Act 2001] [ISO 9001: 6.6.2] [IiP: 5.1; 5.3]ercentage of questionnaire complete 0% 5000% Continue to the next section Return to the previous section
WORKING ENVIRONMENT (WE)WE5:WE8:Percentage of questionnaire complete Continue Back
Is key information about the matter and its current status kept up to date so that someone else handling the file has ready access to the details? G: This might include the use of a file summary sheet, operation of a case management system (or other centrally accessible notes), or colour coding of key information on the file. [Code of Conduct: ~] [Lexcel: 8.8d] [SQM: ~] [Legal: ~] [ISO 9001: 4.2.3e] [IiP: ~]ercentage of questionnaire complete 0% 5000% Continue to the next section Return to the previous section
As the Principal, do you have overall responsibility for ensuring that complaints are handled promptly, fairly and effectively? G: Where a larger number of staff are employed, it is acceptable to have another senior person to deal with complaints in the first instance, providing they report (and escalate matters as appropriate), to the Principal. Arrangements should include ensuring full co-operation with the SRA should it become involved. [Code of Conduct: 2.05(1)a; 20.05-20.06] [Lexcel: ~] [SQM: G1.2] [Legal: ~] [ISO 9001: 5.5.1; 8.5.2] [IiP: ~] Are time scales set for completion of complaint handling activities and are these monitored centrally to ensure they are followed and that responses are appropriate? G: Complaints monitoring should form part of any management / team meeting core agenda. The central records referred to in CC12 should be used for this purpose. [Code of Conduct: ~] [Lexcel: 7.4b] [SQM: ~] [Legal: ~] [ISO 9001: 8.5.2] [IiP: ~]ercentage of questionnaire complete 0% 5000% Continue to the next section Return to the previous section
Does the attendance note (or instructions with any supplemental notes) include, as appropriate:• client requirements, objectives, and/or nature of the problem;• specific objectives;• issues raised and advice given;• options discussed and any associated risks;• action to be taken by the Practice;• approximate time scale to complete the agreed actions;• any actions that the client is required to complete?G: Confirmation of the above in writing (in accordance with CM17) may be used as the detailedrecord instead of an equally detailed attendance note but a short attendance note showing date, timeand cross-references to the more detailed documents should be completed. Information that cannotbe ascertained initially should be obtained and supplemented later.[Code of Conduct: 2.02(1)a-c; 2.02(2)b-c] [Lexcel: 8.4a-c] [SQM: F1.1a&b] [Legal: ~] [ISO 9001: 7.2.1; 7.2.2; 7.3][IiP: ~]Does cost information include:• the basis of the fees to be charged;• advance warning if fee rates changes are to be applied to existing work;• a best estimate of total likely costs on every matter, (to include fees, disbursements, and VAT),either at the outset or as soon as issues become clearer;• payment terms, including circumstances when a lien might be exercised for unpaid costs;• any fee-sharing arrangements to be applied;• arrangements for updating costs information?G: A cost range or an estimate for a first stage may be given but it is not adequate to advise clientsthat ‘it is not possible to give a costs estimate’. Expected costs should be supported by hourly ratesfor all personnel involved in the matter, and estimated time to complete the matter, but not an hourlyrate on its own. Repeat work can be advised once only and then updated occasionally. Terms andconditions relating to public funding (such as the Statutory Charge) should be made clear in relevantcases.[Code of Conduct: 2.03(1)a-c&e; 2.03(4)] [Lexcel: 7.2] [SQM: F1.2c&d] [Legal: ~] [ISO 9001: 7.2.3] [IiP: ~]Are alternative means of funding (for the clients or their opponents costs) discussed and recorded orconfirmed as appropriate?G: Other sources apart from client funds may be relevant, including public funding, legal expensesinsurance, trade union benefits, conditional or contingency fee arrangements. Alternative fundingsources should be considered both at the outset and if there is any significant change in the clientsmeans as the case progressesNB: N/A may only be selected if the client groups you serve would never be able to use suchalternative fund sources.[Code of Conduct: 2.03(1)d; 2.03(3)] [Lexcel: 8.4d] [SQM: F1.1d; F2.4] [Legal: ~] [ISO 9001: 7.2.1-7.2.3; 7.3] [IiP:~]
In appropriate circumstances, is a cost-benefit analysis conducted to assess whether the matter isworth pursuing and whether the likely outcome will justify the expenditure, effort and possibly stressto the client?G: Risks to the client must be considered in such matters, and in publicly funded cases, the ability tomeet the funding code criteria must be satisfied. Cost-benefit considerations may apply on bothcontentious and non-contentious matters so ensure full consideration is given to all work types.NB: N/A may only be selected if the Practice deals only with matters where cost-benefitconsiderations are not relevant.[Code of Conduct: 2.03(6)] [Lexcel: 8.4e] [SQM: F1.2c] [Legal: ~] [ISO 9001: 7.2.1-7.2.3; 7.3] [IiP: ~]If any limitations are to be placed on the service provided, is this confirmed in writing with the client?G: Limitations might be set by an external funder or by the client themselves by setting an upper feelimit.[Code of Conduct: 2.02(2)e] [Lexcel: ~] [SQM: ~] [ISO 9001: 7.2.1-7.2.3; 7.3] [Other: ~] [Legal: ~]If after initial discussions, it is considered more appropriate for another person in the Practice to dealwith the case, is client consent obtained and the matter referred to someone with more appropriateexpertise and/or time?G: A subsequent client care letter should confirm that consent was obtained and explain the reasonfor the handover. Changes in client care responsibilities (as defined in CC7) also need to be madeclear.[Code of Conduct: ~] [Lexcel: 8.6f] [SQM: F2.5] [Legal: ~] [ISO 9001: 7.2.2; 7.2.3] [IiP: ~]Are the details in CM8 to CM16 confirmed in writing and a copy of the correspondence kept on thefile?G: If it is not possible to confirm some details right at the outset, further correspondence should besent as and when details become clearer. If e-mail is used, the client’s consent for this mode ofcommunication should be obtained. If it has been agreed or it is inappropriate to provide all/some ofthis information, there should be a file note in support of this decision.[Code of Conduct: 2.03(5)&(7)] [Lexcel: 8.4] [SQM: F1.1] [Legal: ~] [ISO 9001: 7.2.2; 7.2.3] [IiP: ~]Has the Practice defined the format and content for recording key information on the file?G: Structured case management notes (on computer or the file) or a case summary sheet might beused for this.[Code of Conduct: ~] [Lexcel: 8.6a] [SQM: E1.3] [Legal: ~] [ISO 9001: 7.1; 7.5.1] [IiP: ~]Are key dates researched and identified as early as possible in the case and shown clearly on thefile?G: So that they are obvious to anyone who needs to refer to the file.[Code of Conduct: ~] [Lexcel: 8.6b] [SQM: E1.2c] [Legal: ~] [ISO 9001: 7.2.1; 7.5.1] [IiP: ~]
Have you defined all the key dates that apply to individual types of work?G: This will generally be done whilst defining the generic risk profile for that type of work (see RM5)and should define the specific types of dates for instance in landlord & tenant matters, probate,company/commercial, litigation, judicial review, conveyancing etc.[Code of Conduct: ~] [Lexcel: 8.6b] [SQM: E1.2c] [Legal: ~] [ISO 9001: 7.1; 7.2.1] [IiP: ~]Are key dates noted clearly on the file and entered into back-up system(s) showing the client, filenumber and what needs to be done?G: A central diary should be used for this. An electronic version is generally easier to add to andreview, but a desk dairy will serve the purpose providing it is not taken out of the office. Detailsshould be adequate - what must be done and not just a name/file reference, and must be legible.[Code of Conduct: ~] [Lexcel: 8.6b] [SQM: E1.2c] [Legal: ~] [ISO 9001: 7.5.1] [IiP: ~]Is a key date reminder system operated?G: A systematic review and/or notification system is necessary to ensure key dates and remindersare reacted to in adequate time. Responsibilities and frequencies for this should be established.[Code of Conduct: ~] [Lexcel: 8.6c] [SQM: E1.2c] [Legal: ~] [ISO 9001: 7.5.1] [IiP: ~]Are plans reviewed at predetermined frequencies and any proposed changes to the planned courseof action agreed with the client and confirmed in writing?G: If it is not appropriate to consult with the client, it may be appropriate to consult with their guardianor litigation friend if they have one.[Code of Conduct: ~] [Lexcel: 8.6f] [SQM: F2.1; F2.2] [Legal: ~] [ISO 9001: 7.2.2; 7.2.3b; 7.3.7] [IiP: ~]Where case changes or progress involve the introduction of other parties, is a further conflict ofinterest check conducted?G: A record of any such changes and checks should be made on the file.NB: N/A may only be selected if the work-type/s undertaken by the Practice do not, and are neverlikely to, involve such changes.[Code of Conduct: ~] [Lexcel: 8.3] [SQM: E1.2a] [Legal: ~] [ISO 9001: 7.2.1] [IiP: ~]Do fee-earners review all their files at regular intervals to check for inactivity and react accordingly?G: This may be a full cabinet trawl or review of complete matter lists on a monthly, bimonthly orquarterly basis. Monitoring less frequently than every quarter is likely to be ineffective. Reportsshowing the date of last activity and/or time recorded on each matter are useful in this respect.[Code of Conduct: ~] [Lexcel: 6.4; 8.6] [SQM: E1.2e] [Legal: ~] [ISO 9001: 7.5.1e; 8.2.3] [IiP: ~]Are hand over / holiday notes detailed in a prescribed format that outlines key issues, progress todate, any immediate actions required, future plan, key dates, undertakings or specific risk issues tobe aware of.G: If a key details / file summary sheet or Case Management System is used, this could be referredto instead of repeating information.
[Code of Conduct: ~] [Lexcel: ~] [SQM: ~] [Legal: ~] [ISO 9001: 7.1; 7.5.1] [IiP: ~]Where time spent on the case is the basis for the fee, unless agreed otherwise, is the client providedwith cost updates in accordance with agreed frequencies that are defined in the client careinformation and/or terms of business?G: As an absolute minimum, this should be six-monthly but in faster moving matters where costsaccumulate more rapidly, more frequent updates should be given.NB: N/A may only be selected if the Practice always quotes a fixed fee for the matter.[Code of Conduct: 2.03(1)] [Lexcel: 8.6e] [SQM: F1.2c; F2.3] [Legal: ~] [ISO 9001: 7.2.3] [IiP: ~]Where relevant, do cost update letters remind clients of any relevant financial risks associated withthe case?G: This might include for instance, reference to the statutory charge in publicly funded matters and/orthe possibility of adverse costs orders in litigation matters. Advice on existing or specially purchasedinsurance should be given in respect of potential liability for other parties costs where appropriate.Financial Services Rules may therefore come into consideration.NB: N/A may only be selected where such issues do not apply to the type of work undertaken.[Code of Conduct: 2.03(1)f-g] [Lexcel: 6.8d; 8.6e] [SQM: F2.3d] [Legal: ~] [ISO 9001: 7.2.3] [IiP: ~]Is the authority required for giving undertakings stated clearly in the Practice’s procedures?G: Authority levels may vary according to the type of work and the routine or non-routine nature of theundertakings given in that type of work.NB: N/A may only be selected if your Practice operates in limited areas where undertakings are not,and are never likely to be given.[Code of Conduct: 5.01(1)f] [Lexcel: 8.7] [SQM: E1.2d] [ISO 9001: 5.5.1] [Other: ~] [Legal: ~]Have all personnel been trained on the Practice’s position in relation to undertakings?G: It should be noted that an undertaking is defined as ‘any unequivocal declaration of intentionmade by a Solicitor or a member of Solicitor’s staff in the course of practice, addressed to someonewho reasonably places reliance on it’. The term undertaking does not necessarily need to be usedand it is not limited to qualified personnel. Training is therefore necessary to ensure thatunintentional undertakings are not given. This requirement therefore applies whether or not younormally give undertakings in the course of your work.[Code of Conduct: 5.0191)f; 10.05 & GN24-41] [Lexcel: 8.7] [SQM: ~] [Legal: ~] [ISO 9001: 6.2.2] [IiP: ~]Are undertakings recorded clearly on the file?G: So that it is immediately apparent to someone else who may need to refer to the file. This may bein the Case Management Notes, on a File Summary Sheet, on a specifically coloured memo and/orby way of a sticker on the file.NB: N/A may only be selected if your Practice operates in limited areas where undertakings are not,and are never likely to be given.[Code of Conduct: 5.0191)f] [Lexcel: 8.7] [SQM: E1.2d] [Legal: ~] [ISO 9001: 4.2.4; 7.5.1] [IiP: ~]
Are oral undertakings always confirmed in writing promptly following verbal agreement?G: Similarly, documents received should be checked to ensure that you concur with what has beenagreed and if necessary, disputed at the earliest opportunity.NB: N/A may only be selected if your Practice operates in limited areas where undertakings are not,and are never likely to be given.[Code of Conduct: 5.01910f] [Lexcel: 8.7] [SQM: E1.2d] [Legal: ~] [ISO 9001: 4.2.4; 7.5.1] [IiP: ~]Are procedures for monitoring undertakings defined and operated systematically?G: Some Practices find it useful to record undertakings centrally – either with accounts for financialundertakings or in a separate log for non-routine / litigation undertakings. A means of monitoring,either throughout the case and/or on conclusion is required in any case.NB: N/A may only be selected if your Practice operates in limited areas where undertakings are not,and are never likely to be given.[Code of Conduct: 5.01(1)f] [Lexcel: 8.7] [SQM: E1.2d] [Legal: ~] [ISO 9001: 7.1; 7.5.1] [IiP: ~]Is written confirmation of completion of the case provided to the client, including as appropriate:• provision of final documents / advising on the outcome of the matter;• any implications that the client should be aware of;• any further action to be taken (by the client or the Practice) and responsibility for this;• whether future review is appropriate, and if so, when, why, and who should initiate this?G: It is important to make clear responsibilities for anything outstanding or future review in case theclient assumes that the Practice will automatically take responsibility for this.[Code of Conduct: ~] [Lexcel: 8.10a&e] [SQM: F3.1] [Legal: ~] [ISO 9001: 4.2.4; 7.2.3; 7.5.1; 7.5.4] [IiP: ~]Is a full account of costs incurred (showing the Practice’s fees, any disbursements and VAT, moniespaid to date and owed (or owing)), provided on conclusion of the matter?G: This may be sent with the concluding letter or separately if final account details are yet to beconcluded. A full account of the whole case should be provided, whether monies have been paid onaccount or not. This requirement is not necessary for any pro-bono work undertaken.[Code of Conduct: ~] [Lexcel: 8.10b] [SQM: ~] [Legal: ~] [ISO 9001: 4.2.4; 7.2.3; 7.5.1] [IiP: ~]Is evidence of return and/or receipt of any client or third party property kept on the file?G: This may also include sensitive materials to be returned to the client or issuing authority.NB: N/A may only be selected if the Practice does not hold client property or sensitive material thatwould need to be returned.[Code of Conduct: ~] [Lexcel: ~] [SQM: F3.1b] [Legal: ~] [ISO 9001: 4.2.3f; 7.5.1] [IiP: ~]Is the file checked to ensure that any undertaking(s) given have been met or otherwise dischargedprior to closure of the file?NB: N/A may only be selected if your Practice operates in limited areas where undertakings are not,and are never likely to be given.
[Code of Conduct: 5.01(1)f] [Lexcel: 8.7] [SQM: E1.2d] [Legal: ~] [ISO 9001: 7.5.1] [IiP: ~] Is a concluding checklist, appropriate to the individual work-type or work-types undertaken, used to ensure that all final verification activities and loose ends are completed on conclusion of a matter. G: For example, claims may arise in conveyancing matters due to failure to finish off loose ends and file deeds at the end of a conveyancing transaction. Concluding checks should include a final inspection of any documents in accordance with any relevant supervision processes. [Code of Conduct: ~] [Lexcel: ~] [SQM: ~] [Legal: ~] [ISO 9001: 7.1; 7.3.5; 7.5.1f] [IiP: ~] If the firm decides that it must cease to act, is this course of action approved by you as Principal, adequate notice provided, and details confirmed with the client in writing as follows: • the reasons for ceasing to act; • the date on which cessation comes into effect; • the scope of any remaining work/responsibility that will be completed; • any implications and further advice to the client; • what will happen with the paperwork generated to date? G: A pre-warning letter should be sent to warn that this course of action is imminent unless circumstances change. Ceasing to act must be for good reason and on adequate notice. If cessation is related to concerns about financial crime, care should be taken against tipping off. [Code of Conduct: 2.01(2)] [Lexcel: ~] [SQM: ~] [Legal: MLR 2007; POCA 2002] [ISO 9001: 7.2.3] [IiP: ~]ercentage of questionnaire complete 0% 5000% Continue to the next section Return to the previous section
USE OF THIRD PARTIES (TP)TP5:TP7:TP8:TP9:TP12:Percentage of questionnaire complete
Are file reviews conducted under the control of a Supervisor? G: It is not necessary for Supervisors to conduct all reviews personally providing that reviews are conducted by a suitably competent individual and that Supervisors are aware of the findings, actions agreed and any trends associated with reviews in their area of responsibility. Procedural checks may be delegated to any competent member of staff. Legal advice/strategy reviews should be conducted by the Principal or another Supervisor only. [Code of Conduct: ~] [Lexcel: 6.5e] [SQM: E2.2; E2.3] [Legal: ~] [ISO 9001: 5.5.1; 8.2.3; 8.2.4] [IiP: 4.3; 5.1-5.4] If any actions are required following a file review, are they completed within agreed time frames? G: Completion targets may range from the same day to up to 28 days. It may also be appropriate to monitor application of improvement actions over a period of several months. [Code of Conduct: ~] [Lexcel: 6.5d] [SQM: E2.1d] [Legal: ~] [ISO 9001: 8.5.2; 8.3] [IiP: ~] Are actions arising from a file review verified by the reviewer once the target date for completion has been reached? [Code of Conduct: ~] [Lexcel: 6.5d] [SQM: E2.1d] [Legal: ~] [ISO 9001: 8.5.2; 8.3] [IiP: 4.3; 5.1-5.4]ercentage of questionnaire complete 0% 5000% Continue to the next section Return to the previous section
If an event occurs which potentially increases risk, are control measures agreed with the Supervisor and/or Risk Manager and noted clearly on the file? G: If it is necessary for someone to take over handling of the case, they will also need to know what the additional risks are and the extra controls which need to be followed in order to manage this additional risk. The potential for adverse costs orders being made against the Practice (see CM35) should be included in this consideration. [Code of Conduct: 5.01(1)l] [Lexcel: 6.8c] [SQM: ~] [Legal: ~] [ISO 9001: 7.3.7] [IiP: ~]ercentage of questionnaire complete 0% 5000% Continue to the next section Return to the previous section
YOUR OPTIONSThank you for taking the time to complete our standard Quality Assurance questionnaire. You now have twooptions: -Please save the changes you have made to the questionnaire and return it to firstname.lastname@example.org for our analysis. WAlternatively, you can continue on to complete our comprehensive questionnaire which provides an evaluation ofyour overall practice management standards against the Lexcel standard. We estimate a completion time of 1½to 2 hours for this part of the questionnaire. The questions that you have already responded to will appearanswered in the comprehensive questionnaire.For your guidance, the following dashboard indicates the percentage completed for each section of thecomprehensive questionnaire.Percentage of comprehensive questionnaire complete ORGANISATION & STRUCTURE BUSINESS PLANNING FINANCIAL CONTROLS PREVENTION OF FINANCIAL CRIME PEOPLE MANAGEMENT WORKING ENVIRONMENT INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY FILE MANAGEMENT CLIENT CARE CASE MANAGEMENT USE OF THIRD PARTIES CASEWORK SUPERVISION RISK MANAGEMENT CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT TOTAL 0% 5000% Continue Back
[Sols Code: 5.02] [Lexcel: ~] [SQM: ~] [Legal: ~] [ISO 9001: 5.5.1] [IiP: ~] Do you have regular meetings or reviews for which an agenda is produced and minutes/notes recorded and circulated to any others attending? G: For example, monthly, bimonthly or quarterly meetings of the Principal and any other personnel involved with management issues such as finances, planning, complaints, personnel and administration. Where no others are involved, reviews should still be undertaken. [Solicitors Code: ~] [Lexcel: ~] [SQM: C1.2] [Legal: ~] [ISO 9001: 5.5.3] [IiP: 7.1-7.3] Has responsibility for each of following management roles been allocated to yourself or another person you employ who has sufficient seniority, skills and knowledge to deal with issues that might arise: • risk management; • client care and complaints management; • money laundering / other financial crime; • quality policy, objectives and systems; • information & communications technology (ICT) and information management including e-mail, internet and data protection; • financial management; • registration, certification and liaison with the SRA, Law Society and LSC where appropriate; • insurance and claims; • equality and diversity; • premises, security, and health & safety; • business planning and continuity; • recruitment, training & development; and if appropriate, • compliance with the Financial Services Rules? G: That person should also have responsibility for compliance with legislation/regulations and for the upkeep and implementation of associated plans and policies. Any delegated roles should be clearly defined and understood. [Sols Code: 5.01(1)I; 19] [Lexcel: 1.2-1.5; 1.7; 3.1; 4A.1-4A.6; 5.1; 5.5; 6.1; 6.6a; 7.1] [SQM: C1.2; C1.3; C1.4; C2.1; G3.1] [Legal: MLR 2007, H&SaWA 1974, FRRO 2005, FSMA 2000] [ISO 9001: 5.1b,c&e; 5.5.1; 5.5.2] [IiP: 4.1-4.3; 5.1; 8.1-8.2] Does each of the roles listed in OS7 have clearly defined terms of reference and/or objectives? G: Possibly defined in a Job Description or Management Role. Responsibility for specific policies, plans or processes should be known or be readily available. [Sols Code: ~] [Lexcel: 5.2] [SQM: C1.2] [Legal: ~] [ISO 9001: 5.5.1] [IiP: 4.1-4.3; 8.1-8.2]ercentage of questionnaire complete 0% 5000% Continue to the next section Return to the previous section
Are the development plans and projects detailed in your Business Plan fully costed? G: That is, outline costs identified for each development initiative so that these can be included in the Practice’s income and expenditure budget for the same period. [Code of Conduct: 5.01(1)j] [Lexcel: ~] [SQM: A1.1] [Legal: ~] [ISO 9001: 5.1e] [IiP: 8.1; 9.1] Does the plan address at least a three-year period? G: The current year should be in detail but the following two years could be in outline only. [Code of Conduct: ~] [Lexcel: A1.1] [SQM: ~] [Legal: ~] [ISO 9001: ~] [IiP: ~] Has anyone who works for you or is otherwise involved in the Practice been made aware of the contents of the plan? G: Either via a summary document or provision of a copy of the plan itself (as appropriate to the level of understanding and role of the individual). NB: N/A may only be selected if there are no other personnel. [Code of Conduct: ~] [Lexcel: ~] [SQM: A1.1] [Legal: ~] [ISO 9001: 5.5.3] [IiP: 1.6; 7.1-7.3; 5.1-5.3] Is the Business Plan subject to regular monitoring (at least 6-monthly) to assess and record whether it is on target to achieve the objectives set, and to set appropriate actions to progress the plans further? G: Monitoring outcomes can simply be annotated on the plans when reviewed. If you involve others in the review process, a short memo noting agreed actions, responsibilities and timescales should be circulated so that progress can be managed effectively. [Code of Conduct: ~] [Lexcel: 2.3] [SQM: A1.2] [Legal: ~] [ISO 9001: 5.1d; 5.6] [IiP: 9.2-9.5] Is the plan subject to full review and update at least annually to take into account changes in the business environment and to ensure the planning horizon remains at three years? G: This would include a reassessment of the factors listed in BP2 and update of the document to include new development initiatives. [Code of Conduct: ~] [Lexcel: ~] [SQM: A1.2] [Legal: ~] [ISO 9001: 5.1d&e; 5.6] [IiP: 9.2-9.5]ercentage of questionnaire complete 0% 5000% Continue to the next section Return to the previous section
Do you operate a time recording system to: • ensure accurate client billing (where time spent is the basis of your fee), and/or • monitor case costs to ensure that fixed fees are cost-effective or otherwise appropriate, and/or • monitor financial performance (of yourself, any other individuals, or the Practice as a whole)? [Code of Conduct: ~] [Lexcel: 3.3] [SQM: ~] [Legal: ~] [ISO 9001: ~] [IiP: ~] Have you defined procedures and responsibilities for reviewing aged debt and authorising any write- offs? G: To ensure files can be closed without undue delay and accounts data kept up to date. [Code of Conduct: ~] [Lexcel: ~] [SQM: ~] [Legal: ~] [ISO 9001: 7.1] [IiP: ~]ercentage of questionnaire complete 0% 5000% Continue to the next section Return to the previous section
PREVENTION OF FINANCIAL CRIME (PFC)PFC1:PFC2:PFC3:PFC4:PFC5: