The Legal Services Board today pledged to go ahead with its programme for the year ahead despite the battering its draft business plan received in consultation.
However its research programme has been ‘rescoped significantly in light of feedback’, according to the plan published today.
In a foreword, the super-regulator’s chairman David Edmonds and chief executive Chris Kenny (pictured) set out a goal to ‘interrogate the regulatory system as thoroughly as we can to understand where complexity – whether of statutory origin or self-generated – and inefficiency are introducing unnecessary direct and indirect cost’.
In the year ahead, the board will ‘review reports from each regulator on their delivery of their action plans’, the plan says.
‘Where we see failure to deliver plans, we will decide whether this represents a risk to the regulatory objectives and will consider an appropriate response.’
The term ‘action plans’ had attracted criticism from the Solicitors Regulation Authority, which in its response said it did not recognise the term and did not consider that it had agreed one with the board – or that it was necessary to do so.
The LSB says the SRA’s ‘totally unevidenced assertion’ that the LSB is at risk of government influence ‘is rejected utterly’. It also dismisses allegations of micro-management, duplication and substitution of decision-making.
The LSB notes that in considering responses ‘we have taken into account that the number we received is small and that they are primarily from bodies who either have an interest in representing professional interests or who are subject to the board’s oversight’. It expresses disappointment at the lack of responses from consumer or citizen groups.
However in one concession to critics, the business plan says that the LSB has scaled back research work, including merging of planned work on general advice and mapping the unregulated sector. This will now be carried out in-house rather than by external contractors.