COLP and COFA Support
The Roles of COLP and COFA
The twin roles of COLP (Compliance Officer for Legal Practice) and COFA (Compliance Officer for Finance and Administration) are central to all law firms’ compliance responsibilities so far as the SRA are concerned. Their responsibilities are set out in paragraphs 9.1 and 9.2 of the SRA Code of Conduct for Firms. The COLP will shoulder the main responsibility for compliance issues within law firms, other than for Accounts Rules compliance which will fall instead to the COFA. In most smaller firms, however, and in sole practices most obviously, the two roles are likely to be, or will have to be, combined.
The COLP and COFA will first have to ensure that effective compliance arrangements are in place within their firm, and then continue to monitor their operation. A note must then be kept of all the breaches in the firm’s operations for which they are responsible, with a duty to report “promptly” to the SRA all those of a serious nature.
It is the duty of the COLP and COFA to ensure compliance with the SRA Standards and Regulations and so it is essential they have access to the appropriate resources and the necessary practical support.
As a service focused on the compliance responsibilities of all solicitors, and law firms in general, it follows that the majority of the materials that we make available to subscribers to the InfoHub will be of benefit to COLPs and COFAs in understanding what is required of them by the SRA and help them to get to grips with the many issues that might arise from the day-to-day activities of the firm.
However, in addition we also provide more hands-on support to firms and their COLPs and COFAs.
Supporting the COLP and COFA
Whilst a subscription to the Infolegal InfoHub will give all COLPs and COFAs access to the wide range of information including the draft office manual, guidance notes, precedents, forms, analysis and recording resources and online training, this may not be enough.
Those who have specific problems, just starting out as the COLP or COFA in your firm and are feeling unsure about the nature of your role, or who require practical assistance in setting up and then managing the procedures and processes necessary to undertake their role, may feel that access to our consultancy services is a more practical and cost effective way to address issues within the firm.
For those requiring more hands-on help, Infolegal’s directors and consultants can bring a wealth experience and knowledge to compliance issues generally and the work of the COLP and COFA in particular. The services we can provide include:
- a “gap analysis” or compliance review to assist you in working out where the firm is falling short in compliance terms and where effort needs to be focused. We find that this is a very useful tool in ensuring that the firm does not spend money putting right things that are already satisfactory;
- incorporating our policies and processes into the firm’s existing processes so as to ensure that the firm has a comprehensive procedures manual;
- integrating, where relevant, the procedures into our own cloud-based regulatory compliance system;
- ensuring that everyone in the firm is au fait with the changes that have been implemented, why they are necessary and the impact they will have upon other personnel within the firm;
- where appropriate, advising the firm on the benefits of moving to a different practice structure,
- advising on systems for dealing with AML, cybersecurity, Lexcel, Legal Aid standards etc;
- guidance on carrying out regular compliance audits;
- ongoing support and advice on specific issues that arise.
To find out more about the role of the COLP and COFA, see the explanatory guide that you can download from this page.
Find Out More
To find out more about how Infolegal can assist you and your firm with COLP/COFA related issues, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org, phone us on 0203 371 1064 or complete the online enquiry form.