The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) uses continuing competence to ensure solicitors do their jobs to the standard expected of them. Continuing competence replaced continuing professional development (CPD) on 1 November 2016. Continuing competence focuses on: identifying and reviewing your learning needs, undertaking learning to meet your needs, reflecting on your learning and identifying and reviewing future learning needs. Under CPD a certain number of hours of specified activities each year had to be completed, with courses and learning provided by approved organisations. Some firms have decided to keep using this method, but any activity that helps meet learning needs counts towards continuing competence, and there is no target for the number of hours you have to complete. An annual declaration must be completed when renewing the practising certificate, even if no learning needs were identified. The annual declaration states that an individual has: reflected on their practice and identified and addressed any learning and development needs.
Individual solicitors can make their own annual declaration and also complete it for others. Firms that complete the Practising Certificate Renewal Exercise (PCRE) forms on behalf of their solicitors can also make the declaration in the relevant section of the forms. The annual declaration form can be signed even if the learning needs identified have not be fully addressed. For example, training may take place after the annual returns date or if several areas of learning were identified there may not have been enough time to address all requirements, in this case, the learning has to be achieved them within a reasonable timeframe.
Redbrick Solutions provide free CPD webinars as part of their Redbrick Academy offering. Redbrick Academy is available to all as part of our commitment to working proactively to improve the conveyancing process and to formulate and implement best practice throughout the industry.