PPR Conference 2018 Highlights

The PPR Conference 2018 was a great success

 

Thank you to everyone who attended and made it the best one yet, we hope to see you next time!

Here are some of the highlights, who can spot themselves?

The PPR Handbook

The Professional Paralegal Register is in the process of compiling a handbook which will be made available to all of our member’s in the coming months.

It is our aim at the PPR to always set the highest standards and to ensure that our members are fully equipped to provide the most professional and highest quality of work and service to the general public whom they are dealing with, at all times.

We believe that in making a PPR handbook available to our members it will act as an extremely useful tool and benefit ensuring that they are up to speed with the most current information regarding the PPR and its rules and policies whilst also acting as a resource that members can refer to for guidance, knowledge and support.

In order for members to consistently meet the highest level of expectation in their work as a paralegal and to minimise any risk to the consumer, it is of the utmost importance that you as a member of the PPR have a thorough understanding of our Strategy and Aims; Code of Conduct; and of the Rules and Requirements that we currently have in place.

Ultimately, the PPR endeavours to support all of its members at all times to ensure that you as a paralegal are not only recognised for your professionalism but that you are also placed in the best position to offer your clients complete reassurance and peace of mind in the work that you are doing for them.

Therefore, we hope that our members will find the handbook to be a highly beneficial resource that provides valuable knowledge and information whilst also assisting you to achieve the highest standards in your profession.

We look forward to being able to share the PPR handbook with you in the near future.

J.M. Glendinning Professional Risks Limited - Professional Indemnity Insurance

After discussions with the team at J.M. Glendinning Professional Risks Limited, we are pleased to tell our members that they meet the PPR’s exacting standards of Professional Indemnity Insurance providers.

If you would like to learn more, please see below their contact details:

Kate Cooper BA(Hons) ACII

Chartered Insurance Broker
J.M. Glendinning (Insurance Brokers) Professional Risks Limited

Elmwood House, Ghyll Royd, Guiseley, Leeds, LS20 9LT
Direct Dial:          01943 660816
Mobile:                07766 391670

kate.cooper@jmginsurance.co.uk

PPR Is Getting Smarter

The PPR is looking to raise its game by introducing smart badges.

These smart badges will help to validate your registration on your own website, and stop non-members from using the PPR logo illegally.

We’ll be releasing more details to our members shortly, but first, we need your help.

We can only install the smart badge on your website if we have up to date details. Without having your up to date information we won’t be able to give you access to this innovative service. Only smart badges will be able to validate your registration.

Emails have been sent to all our members with a method to provide us with these up to date details.

Thanks

PI insurance

As you are aware, the PPR spent many months working with Insync to secure an appropriately worded cover for Paralegals at a reasonable cost.

The uptake by our members to use this scheme has been lower than anticipated and therefore you may have received an automated e mail from Insync about your renewal.

Please be aware that Insync are brokers that work on our behalf and therefore can still assist you.

For any further assistance please contact Callum Goulding, Senior Developer at Insync, at callum.goulding@insyncinsurance.co.uk and he will be delighted to assist you

PPR Forum Meeting at the House of Commons

The PPR Forum Meeting at the HoC on 28th November was attended by 30 key stakeholders in the sector. Kate Hoey MP hosted the event to show her support for the work of the PPR. The PPR is now recognised as the voluntary over-arching regulator for all those who offer legal services or give legal advice in the unregulated sector.

Sean-Randall Morris, Chairman of the Regulatory Committee has given the green light for the PPR to be able to regulate individuals across the globe, as the over-arching voluntary regulatory regime is suitable for all those who practice English Law.

Paralegals are to be encouraged to join the PPR as are membership bodies who operate self-regulatory schemes that in the main offer no real protection for the consumer.

Derek Wood, CBE, QC has launched a supporters group for the PPR with many stakeholders signing up including the Legal Ombudsman; Which? Legal; The Citizenship Foundation and many more. The supporters group assists with the commitment of the PPR and its recognised bodies to enhance PLE.

PPR Paralegal Practising Certificates issued by the PPR are the only practising certificates that ate authorised by the over-arching regulator.

 

Pictured below from L to R:

IMG-5519

Rita Leat, Managing Director, PPR; Baroness Diane Hayter of Kentish Town; Kate Hoey MP, Ian Grant, Director PPR

 

Register Forum Meeting at the House of Commons

Kate Hoey MP, hosted a Stakeholders Forum meeting at the House of Commons for the Professional Paralegal Register (PPR).

The PPR is the over-arching voluntary regulator that provides a voluntary scheme of regulation for all those who offer legal services in the unregulated market.

Rita Leat, Managing Director of the PPR said “the aim of the PPR is to provide voluntary regulation for Paralegals to enhance consumer protection and to promote diversity in the sector.  With more than 2,000 members on the register, with numbers rising who are applying for Paralegal Practising Certificates, we are pleased to be recognised by the sector as the only recognised voluntary regulator for Paralegals.

The unregulated legal services market can now join the PPR so that they are accountable for the services that they offer.  Only PPR Paralegal Practising Certificates provide protection to consumers who choose to use the services of an unregulated provider.

We are delighted that 30 key stakeholders attended the meeting, many of whom have pledged support to the PPR in its commitment to enhance PLE, improve diversity within the sector via the PPR experiential route and to enhance consumer protection.”

Kate Hoey MP said: “I was very pleased to host this important event. Paralegals will become more and more essential for the public seeking help and legal advice. I am impressed with the co-operation between all the various legal agencies and want to see the PPR continue to grow as the voluntary regulator for those providing unregulated legal services”.

Kathryn Stone OBE, Chief Legal Ombudsman, said: “The Legal Ombudsman is keen to see efforts being made to enhance consumer protection in this sector. We applaud the PPR for providing voluntary regulation to maintain high standards among paralegals.”

Espe Fuentes, Head of Which?Legal who attended the event, confirmed that Which?Legal will be joining the PPR Supporters Group that was launched at the meeting.

Derek Wood CBE QC who is a patron of the PPR commented: “It would be quite inaccurate to suggest that Paralegals offer a fall-back or second-class service for clients who cannot afford to turn to a solicitor or barrister. They offer front-line high quality bespoke advice and representation at affordable prices and make a major contribution to the administration of justice.  They are guided by the ethical values which pertain across the whole of legal practice.   I have been deeply impressed with the sheer diversity of legal expertise deployed by PPR members, and their commitment to serving clients in the field of specialism which they have developed.  The PPR provides an important collegiality, a network of personal contacts and support, discussion and interaction”.

Derek Wood further made a request to all key stakeholders and organisations with members or employees who are paralegals not regulated under the Legal Services Act 2007 to join the PPR.  He said “Our increasing body of Paralegals in England and Wales need the professional and ethical support and guidance which the PPR can offer.  In that way they can develop effectively their own careers and practices.  Their clients need the assurance which the PPR can give that their adviser or representative is properly accountable for the quality and integrity of the service delivered, and that redress can be obtained if anything goes wrong.  The legal community at large needs the diversity of personal experience and insight which paralegals can bring to the table.”

Interviews are available, please contact Dorothy Campbell on 0203 0341486 or via email dorothy.campbell@ppr.org.uk

PPR PRACTISING CERTIFICATES- What’s all the fuss?

The Professional Paralegal Register is the only independent voluntary regulator for the unregulated legal services market that covers all persons who practice law and/or offer legal services to the consumer.

Our regulation is robust and carries a compensation fund for consumers who in certain circumstances, where their complaint has been upheld by an independent regulatory board, may gain redress.

But what is the difference between this and self-regulation via a membership body?

Quite a lot!

PPR Practising Certificates

 

The whole point of establishing the PPR was to fulfil the recommendation of the Legal Education and Training Review, that a voluntary regulator for unregulated legal service providers should be formed – quite simply put, self-regulation by membership bodies was not good enough. In the most part, it is totally ineffective to provide any real redress for the consumer.

Regulation is more than just issuing a certificate or a licence – it is a commitment to providing those who choose regulation more than just a complaints procedure. It is about compliance.

The paralegal sector is not regulated by government and so it is true that Paralegals do not have to sign up to any kind of regulation, but if they do then they should only look at independent regulation with a strong emphasis on compliance and actual redress available for their clients. The PPR advises all Paralegals to only pay for proper regulation and not a badge or licence that is not worth the paper it is written on.

At the PPR we focus on compliance and member safety. We are introducing new levels of protection to PPR members and extra checks to ensure compliance. We have regular meetings with the Legal Ombudsman to ensure that we are working appropriately.

The PPR has contacts with government and will be holding an event at the House of Commons soon to further promote the Paralegal profession to government and other key stakeholders.

We are regularly invited to speak at the Legal Policy Forum and have once again been invited on the panel of their next Regulation discussion. We have also been asked for the second time in as many months to write an article of legal regulation focusing on current proposals from the sector.

So, let’s have a look at the actual difference between self- regulation and independent regulation that the PPR offers:


 

NALP IOP PPR
1st Level Complaints Complaints Procedure for 1st level complaints Complaints Procedure for 1st level complaints. Strict timetable and procedure is followed by the IoP complaints coordinator with some decisions being referred to the Chief Executive. Has recognised membership bodies who deal with 1st Level Complaints
2nd Level Complaints Licenced Paralegals – membership body offers 2nd level complaints – in house by the Membership Body. IoP is a membership body and not a regulator- it passes 2nd tier complaints to the PPR as an independent regulator- following best practice that representation and regulation should be independent. A strict timetable and procedure is in place. PPR will deal with complaints regarding conduct of its registered members and will deal with complaints about conduct and services for those who hold practising certificates.
Appeals Appeals are taken to the board of NALP by the CEO. Appeals are handled by the independent regulator. An appeals committee is formed by members of the RRC and any other independent expert necessary to hear the appeal.
Redress Redress- with or without a licence is the same- mainly reprimand or termination of the member from the NALP Redress- mainly reprimand or termination of the member from the IoP A full list of sanctions is available to the Regulatory Committee including the award of compensation to the consumer in certain circumstances. The decision of the RRC is completely independent and uninfluenced by the membership bodies who would otherwise have an interest of keeping their member. This scrutiny also applies to the Recognised Body itself in handling the first tier complaints – if they do not handle the complaint to the satisfaction of the PPR then their member and the consumer will be made aware of this.

 

Now let us look at the credibility of three types of ‘regulation’ currently available (generalisation only as there are a diverse range of membership bodies):


 

Credibility / Robustness General Membership Body Self- Regulation NALP Licence PPR Paralegal Practising Certificate
Application Criteria Yes Yes Yes
Code of Conduct Yes Yes Yes
Membership Level Criteria Yes Yes Yes
Qualifications Yes Yes Yes
Experience Yes Yes Yes
CPD Requirements Yes Yes Yes
PII Required No Yes Yes
Ability to reprimand members Limited Limited Yes
Ability to compensate consumers No No Yes
Has extensively consulted with other regulators on its regulatory scheme to ensure fitness for purpose No No Yes
Has received support and on-going dialogue with the Legal Ombudsman No No Yes
Has received support and on-going dialogue with the Legal Services Board Consumer Panel No No Yes
Has consulted with and has continued dialogue with the Legal Services Boar No No Yes
Has an independent regulatory board with an international arbitrator as the Chair and an ombudsman on the panel No No Yes
Has contacts with the government for the continued promotion of its regulatory scheme N/A N/A Yes
Has practising certificate rules reviewed by all key legal stakeholders No No No
Has strict criteria for providing evidence of suitability to practice that is independently verified away from the Recognised Bodies or membership bodies No No Yes
Has professional standards mapped to its regulatory structure No No Yes

 

The PPR focuses on regulation and compliance. Our policies and procedures are regularly reviewed and updated by our Regulatory Board. The PPR also uses consultants when expertise is required in specific areas.

Compliance is evaluated through CPD checks, regular checks of members websites, requests to see members policies and procedures and member engagement.

The PPR have adopted the IoP Professional Standards as standards as the IoP is the only government recognised professional body for Paralegals. The standards are mapped to the National Occupation Standards for legal services and are therefore compliant with best practice.

These standards have been mapped to the PPR Tiers of the PPR as can be seen below:


 

Competency Level Definition Knowledge Application IoP PPR
Expert Practitioner The highest level of knowledge and application – Expert Expert Constant Tier 4
Accomplished Practitioner An Advanced degree of knowledge and consistent application Master Constant Tier 3
Competent Practitioner Full knowledge with experience and application Full Regular Tier 2
Novice Limited or no knowledge or experience – potential to develop Some Limited Tier 1

 

Obtaining a Paralegal Practicing Certificate enables Paralegals to feel confident in the professional and independent nature of its regulator. It provides for real consumer protection and is a flagship service for the sector.

If you choose to be regulated then make sure that it is independent from your representative body if you want it to be more than just a badge.

PPR Announcement: PPR Position On NALP

24th July 2017

We have had queries regarding video publications made by NALP inferring that the PPR values have changed, and it has become incumbent on me to answer those queries.

The PPR was set up by NALP and IoP as a direct response to recommendations made by the LETR that a regulator should come forward for the unregulated sector.

Both organisations committed to developing such a voluntary regulatory scheme for the benefit of the sector and for greater consumer protection. These values set up by NALP and IoP remain unchanged.

The NALP were present and active at the PPR Conference on 22nd June and our values have not changed since that date, when one can assume that NALP agreed with our values. We are unable to comment further on what NALP believe is a change in our values as they have declined to provide any clarification.

The success of the PPR is dependant on the vetting of membership bodies to ensure that they meet the required standard in ensuring their application processes reflect good practice and that they have a sound, fair and reasonable complaints procedure to handle Tier 1 and 2 complaints prior to being finally reviewed and adjudicated by an independent regulator where required. These values remain unchanged.

For accountability and credibility, it is vital that the sector has an independent regulatory scheme. The IoP previously issued ‘Practising Certificates’ which was wholly inappropriate, as a membership body should not act as a regulator during the final outcome of a complaints process. The IoP withdrew their practising certificates and embraced the new regulatory regime and now has a high number of IoP members registered or regulated by the PPR. The IoP remain committed to the PPR as removal would be a great detriment to their members and to the sector as a whole.

The NALP maintained its ‘Licensed’ Paralegals, very small in number, assuring the PPR that this was a ‘Membership Level’ only, as there was no substance behind it and not an actual licence to practise. Unfortunately, the NALP decided to maintain its ‘Licensed’ Paralegal status which the PPR felt was confusing for the consumer, and therefore in this context, the NALP did not embrace the new regulatory regime to the same extent as the IoP.

The PPR values have not changed and we firmly believe as do our supporters from the Legal Ombudsman’s office that independent regulation is vital.

The PPR is shocked and saddened by the actions of NALP in deciding to promote a Licensing Scheme with no discussion with the PPR or any other of the key legal stakeholders. We do not believe that this is in the best interests of the sector or consumers.

We would expect any of our Recognised Bodies to consult their members before withdrawal from the PPR so that we can ensure that they can be accommodated without unnecessary detriment being caused. We will be seeking to include this in our rules going forwards.

The PPR is a voluntary Regulator and not a membership body and it spent almost two years consulting with key stakeholders before it was robust enough to offer the credibility and accountability that a regulator should do.

There are many membership bodies offering self-regulation with no substance behind them and no real redress for consumers. This is what NALP and the IoP have fought against. It would appear that perhaps NALP’s values have changed and not the PPR’s.

We do not recognise any membership body’s self-regulation certificates or licences as this would be a bleak step backwards for the sector and for consumer protection.

The PPR remains focused on what is right and will continue to support the sector to promote its members as the Fourth Arm of the Legal Profession.

Regulation for Paralegals is voluntary and we would advise all Paralegals who choose to be regulated to choose wisely.