The Legal Services Board (LSB) has singled out the Costs Lawyer Standards Board (CLSB) for praise after finding that it has met all the requirements of the oversight regulator’s performance framework.
This measures all of the legal regulatory bodies against 27 outcomes across five standards: regulatory approach, authorisation, supervision, enforcement and well-led – governance and leadership.
The CLSB initially struggled to achieve the outcomes, with nine unmet two years ago, but has improved significantly since and this is the first time it has achieved a clean bill of health.
CILEx Regulation and the Solicitors Regulation Authority were the only other regulators to meet all the outcomes
Chris Nichols, the LSB’s director of policy and regulation, said: “Through our regulatory performance framework, we seek to ensure that regulatory bodies are well-led and delivering good-quality regulation for the public. Our latest annual assessment shows that some regulators are doing this more effectively than others.
“The Costs Lawyer Standards Board has turned its performance around over the last two years, demonstrating that it is possible to perform well with limited resources, through innovative and collaborative approaches.
“We have also identified a number of regulators who need to demonstrate more transparently how their work is impacting on the regulatory objectives and need to improve accountability through better consultation and engagement.”
The performance report described the results as “a significant achievement for which the CLSB and its leadership is to be commended”.
It continued: “The improvement in the CLSB’s performance is the result of substantial ongoing work. In order to maintain its current assessment, we expect the CLSB to sustain its focus on regulatory performance by demonstrating further improvements against each of the outcomes over time.
“The continued work by the CLSB demonstrates its commitment to becoming an effective regulator. This is seen not only in its efforts to meet each of the outcomes but also in its innovative approaches to its work.”
A good example of this, the LSB said, was the recent success in obtaining funding from the Regulators’ Pioneer Fund to run a research project looking at whether Costs Lawyers could bring about downward pressure on the cost of legal services.
The report said: “This type of innovation has the potential to provide significant benefits for consumers and shows the work that the CLSB is doing in order to make positive change within the sector.
“We expect the CLSB to continue its good work in developing its evidence base and, as set out above, improving its performance against each of the outcomes with a clear focus on the regulatory objectives.”
CLSB chief executive Kate Wellington (pictured) said: “This achievement follows two years of creativity and hard graft from the whole CLSB team. When I joined the organisation in 2019, the Legal Services Board was very clear that a transformational turnaround was required.
“We have delivered that change, despite our limited resources, and have become the trusted, credible regulator that the Costs Lawyer profession and its clients deserve. There is always more to do, and we will continue to improve and grow in 2022 and beyond.”