We have today published our annual reports on our operational work during 2019/20. The reports cover areas such as education and training, preventing money laundering, authorisation and enforcement.
Key facts highlighted within these reports include:
There continues to be year-on-year increase in the number of solicitors qualifying through apprenticeships, firms offering recognised training and solicitors gaining higher rights of audience qualifications.
The continued growth of the legal sector in Wales, with Welsh firms now accounting for a combined turnover of over £435 million, up from £370 million five years ago.
£10.4 million was paid out from the Compensation Fund, up £2.9 million from 2018/19, with the average payout around £28,000.
The Upholding Professional Standards Report, which covers our enforcement work, includes a review of the diversity characteristics of solicitors involved in our enforcement processes, alongside a supporting report setting out the detail.
Findings in this area for 2019/20 were in line with a similar analysis for 2018/19 published last December, and again show an over representation of Black, Asian and minority ethnic solicitors, and men, in both concerns raised with us and investigated when compared with the diversity of the profession as a whole.
We are currently commissioning independent research into the societal and structural factors that might be driving the over-representation in reports made to us, as well as reviewing our own decision making and working to improve diversity data collection.
Anna Bradley, Chair of the SRA Board, said: ‘Publishing this suite of annual reviews is an important part of our ongoing commitment to transparency and accountability. Last year was difficult for everyone, and I’m pleased that our reports show that both we and the profession rose to the challenge, adapting to new ways of working, maintaining performance and services and showing real resilience in the face of the pandemic.’
‘Since we published our last set of reviews, we have made significant progress in many areas, not least the work now well underway to understand and address what may lie behind the overrepresentation of Black, Asian and minority ethnic solicitors, and men, in our enforcement processes. Our 2019/20 Upholding Professional Standards report again confirms the historic trends we have already seen and reaffirms how important it is that we continue to push on with this work as quickly as possible.’
Our suite of annual reports cover five key areas:
- Anti-money Laundering
- Client Protection
- Education and Training
- Upholding Professional Standards