Recent COLP and COFA Developments
- Datalaw Admin
- May 13, 2019
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COLP means compliance Officers for Legal Practice while COFA stands for Compliance Officers for Finance Administration. The establishment of COFA and COLP is part of the conscious move to regulate legal and financial service delivery to advocate risk management and ensure that all regulations are complied with. COLP and COFA have the responsibility for a firm’s system and controls, as well as ensuring that processes are in place to enable that the firm and members of staff comply with the guidelines stipulated in the handbook. COLP and COFA ensure a culture of compliance in financial and legal service delivery to avoid completely material breach or breaches as the case may be. Through the stipulations of COLP and COFA, the SRA is encouraging the dividends of a close working relationship between the regulator and those who are being regulated. These stipulations are consistently been updated and amended at the discretion of the SRA and some of them include the following.
The size of the firm, risk registers, area of risk, client base determines the type of system to be put in place. Suffice to say, a firm complies with the COLP and COFA guidelines applicable to its identity to avoid material breach and ensure a culture of compliance. The compliance with the stipulation of the handbook is not solely the responsibility of COLP and COFA, but also a certain level of compliance is expected from the firm, its managers, but generally, COLP and COFA have a crucial role to play in ensuring that accurate systems are in place, in reporting material breaches to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). Material reaches are reported at the discretion of the compliance officer if the breaches form a pattern and are detrimental to clients or could result to loss of confidence in the firm or in the provision of legal services.
COLP and COFA have undertaken or put in place the following developments in the years past until recent times: developments which are not but limited to
· Be an individual and must be fit to undertake the role(s). The assessment is done by taking into cognizant the stipulation and criteria in the SRA suitability Test 2011 and any other information of relevance and importance. The assessment is so as to ascertain the level of fitness of the individual in carrying out the function or role expected of him, and this is subject to initial approval by the firm and for future references, approval may be withdrawn if you are no longer considered fit.
· You must be a certified COLP and/or COFA
· Have a stipulated year of experience, seniority to effectively function in the role
· COLP must be a lawyer of England, Wales or a registered European lawyer.