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The SRA announced this week that it is unable to confirm at this point whether this year’s recognitions, registrations and PC renewals will be undertaken via the MySRA online portal until 18th November.
MySRA has been a cornerstone of the SRA’s transformation strategy and was one of the main features of the much heralded and very expensive “Enabling Programme”. A brief flick through the SRA’s annual report for the period 2009-10 indicates how much of key part of the SRA’s thinking the online portal is. Indeed, Anthony Townsend’s summary at the start of the report referred to the Enabling Programme as having “provided us with a vastly improved IT infrastructure, facilitating more efficient and effective ways of working”. This theme continues through the body of the report with further reference to the impact of the Enabling Programme in automating standard processes and minimising duplication in order to deliver the “most effective and cost efficient service”
So what has gone wrong? Why does MySRA seem to be so unreliable and to what extent do the problems run? Are the other new systems the SRA has introduced fit for purpose? So keen to consult with the profession when it suits them, the powers that be at the SRA have been remarkably quiet about the extent of the problems and what they are doing to resolve them.
One other interesting feature of the annual report was that the SRA’s expenditure on IT services increased by £5m mainly due to work on the Enabling Programme. This year’s report will also make interesting reading. In light of this spending, let’s hope that the SRA iron out the problems and MySRA is reliable and robust enough to cope with the many thousands of applications in November onwards. Plan B it seems is to fall back on the old paper based system – far from perfect and hardly evidence of delivering the “most effective and cost efficient service”.
One of the other pertinent questions is who is going to foot the bill for the many extra temporary administrative staff that the SRA will have to employ, as they have done in previous years, to process the applications? The pressure it would seem is really on to deliver……
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The Law Society has issued a practice note about the risks to solicitors posed by this new legislation, which came into force on 30 September.
The SRA has urged all practices to check HM Treasury’s consolidated list of asset freeze targets, which lists designated persons subject to financial sanction under EU or UK legislation.
The practising certificate renewal period opened on Monday 2 October.
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