COLP Compliance and business continuity procedures
Very soon it will be mandatory for any business providing legal services to appoint a Compliance Officer for Legal Practice (COLP) and a Compliance Officer for Finance and Administration (COFA). For traditional law firms the deadline to notify the The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) of your chosen candidate will be 31st May 2012 (possibly End July 2012).
These two key individuals will be the go-to people that SRA will seek out should anything occur that requires that they make contact with your firm.
COLP and COFA officers will have a lot of responsibility on their shoulders to ensure all compliance and regulatory processes are noted correctly and in place.
Backing up critical and important company data is high on the agenda. An encrypted offsite backup regime should be put in place and using an online data backup software company will help. These are very easy and straightforward to setup and will save all companies enormous effort with any backup regime.
Other free business continuity tools might be a business continuity plan which can be obtained from the bank, insurance company or local council. An online filing cabinet tool might be useful to note down and have access to important company information that can be held centrally and securely in a single location.
A list of compliance requirements should be obtainable from the SRA to assist and support compliance offices putting in place what they require.
The SRA website provides a useful FAQ section about COLP and COFA and requirements. There is a minefield to understand so that is a good place to start and ask further questions and advice from.
COLP and COFA come into effect October 2012 so it is wise to start putting things into practice and appointing your compliance officer and ensuring all systems, processes and regimes are in place.
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