The Legal Services Board (LSB) has commended the Costs Lawyer Standards Board (CLSB) for the progress it has made in meeting the requirements of the oversight regulator’s performance framework, which measures each regulatory body against five standards and 26 underpinning outcomes.
The annual report about all the legal regulators, published shortly before Christmas, confirmed interim findings from earlier in the year that the CLSB – which initially struggled to achieve the standards – now meets five of the nine outcomes previously assessed as ‘Not met – action being taken’.
The outstanding four deal with building the evidence base and “learnings” from its work to support CLSB decisions, as well as the concern around resources.
“We commend the CLSB for its efforts,” the LSB report said. “Further updates on the four remaining not met outcomes are expected in March 2021 and we expect the CLSB will wish to focus on demonstrating its delivery against each of these.
“We will want to see the CLSB provide ongoing evidence that it can meet the not met outcomes and sustain its improvements across all the met outcomes.”
The LSB also repeated concerns it has previously expressed about the CLSB’s access to resources: “We recognise that as a regulator with a smaller regulatory community (and therefore fewer feepayers among which to distribute the associated costs), the CLSB may face particular challenges in continuing its progress. It may wish to consider forming collaborations to share fixed costs and in so doing unlock capability that may not currently be available.”
Looking across all the regulators, the LSB said: “In 2020, we have seen an improvement in some regulatory bodies’ performance, with two regulatory bodies, the Council for Licensed Conveyancers and the Solicitors Regulation Authority, now meeting all outcomes. We have also seen significant improvements from the CLSB, and we look forward to it making further progress during the next year.
“However, as a result of this exercise, some regulatory bodies are now assessed as not meeting more outcomes than in December 2019. We hope that the regulatory bodies to which this applies will endeavour to undertake the necessary actions and regain met assessments for these outcomes as soon as possible.
“While regulatory bodies are generally performing well against the authorisation, supervision and enforcement standards, the picture is more mixed for the regulatory approach and well-led outcomes.”