Industry News

The CQS

22 November 2011

After researching the ‘revised’ procedures and application form for the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS), I have found that no amendment has been made to ensure firms have actually documented procedures to comply with the standard, let alone whether the firm is following them.

The guidance notes (along with a telephone call to the CQS office for confirmation) states that you do not need to enclose these
documented procedures. As there is no guaranteed assessment in order to reward CQS, how does the Law Society know by a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ tick box that this is true and accurate?

Once the application form has been submitted to the CQS office, according to the Law Society website, the information is entered into a scorecard which verifies whether the firm meets the criteria. This is then passed to a co-ordinator who will send a letter informing the firm of a response. This will entail any of the following three options:

  1. The firm has failed and will not be rewarded with CQS (and have wasted hundreds of pounds on an application fee);  or
  2. The firm has passed and will be rewarded CQS (membership fee is required at a cost that is around twice the amount of the application fee); or
  3. A referral has been made to the assessment panel and the Law Society will request further information. At this point the firm ‘may’ be subject to an audit by a scheme assessor.

Another factor to consider is that when a firm is awarded CQS membership it is only valid for one year, after which the firm will have to go through exactly the same process. The application form does not make any exceptions as to whether the firm has previously had CQS and will have to re-enter all the details again.

So does CQS hold its value and is it not a waste of substantial time and of money?

Ian Braithwaite
Client Relationship Manager

T: 0113 385 4483
M: 07432 695 289
E: ian.braithwaite@lbslegal.co.uk

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