Lexsure provides accredited firms the following draft policies and procedures required to comply with the updated CQS Core Practice Management Standards. These include:
- Stamp Duty Land Tax CQS Policy Template
- Policy for dealing with Lender and Reporting matters to Lenders procedure
- Identification of Property Mortgage Fraud Policy
- Anti Bribery Template Policy
- Business Continuity Plan/Policy
- Anti-Money Laundering Policy Template
- Information Management and Security Policy
- Learning and Development Policy
- Conflict Handling Policy
- Template Client Care Policy
All CQS Policy Templates are issued in a Word format enabling you to amend the templates as you like. Please contact us if you require alternative formats before purchasing any CQS policy templates.
Firms can purchase single or multiple CQS policy templates to be used alongside your existing CQS compliance management systems.
If you require assistance with your CQS (CPMS) Template Policies and documentation, please contact us.
Core Practice Standard Policy Template FAQs
Have the policy templates been approved by CQS?
CQS, as a matter of policy, do not approve template policies and procedures and do not generally offer their own policy templates.
Will the CPMS policy templates make my firm CQS compliant?
No CQS policy template can simply be adopted and relied upon for complete compliance with CQS without any further action. Firms should be very sceptical of any company suggesting that their CQS policies will automatically make your firm CQS compliant – it is more complex than that unfortunately. You should expect to have to adapt the templated policies in order to be satisfied that they work for you before adopting them. The CQS policies and procedures then need to be followed in practice. This means training conveyancing staff periodically on the CQS standards and implementing checks and balances to ensure that the standards set and policies are being adhered to.
The CPMS is intentionally non-prescriptive in which system, policies or processes a firm should adopt to meet their compliance requirements. This also may explain why the Law Society has never published a ‘one-size-fits-all’ set of CQS policies or templates. CQS compliance experts often recommend CQS firms follow a three-tier process to demonstrate compliance.
- Document what you do – i.e. have documented CQS policies and procedures that are specific to your practice.
- Deliver as you declare – make sure the aforementioned CQS policies are adhered to that all the conveyancing staff are trained accordingly.
- Evidence of compliance – you must be able to show the CQS standard is being complied with if and when a CQS audit takes place.
I note that you have a CQS policy update service. Do I need to subscribe to that service before I purchase the policy templates?
Not if you don’t want to. You may purchase individual CQS policy templates or the whole pack of policies or subscribe to the Core Practice Management Standards Policy Update Service. Some CQS firms will inevitably decide to take both services . Contact us for more information.
Is it possible that CQS will themselves provide more help and information when it comes to policy templates?
Possibly. We believe that the Law Society wishes to continue building the CQS community. Their stated intention is to share best practice with the CQS-accredited membership and will keep firms updated on the work they are doing.
Is there a deadline by which time my firm must have their CQS policy templates drafted?
The changes to the Core Practice Management Standard (CPMS) were published in February 2022 and took effect from 1 May 2022. Firms must carefully read and consider whether their existing policies, controls and procedures (PCPs) and policy templates are adequate and evaluate the levels of awareness demonstrated by staff of the PCPs and CQS.
It is imperative that CQS practices take the time to review their documented policies and procedures to ensure that they comply with the new core practice management standard. Firms will be required to provide key policies to The Law Society within two weeks of notice of being selected for a CQS assessment.
Is there overlap between Lexcel and CQS?
If you're already accredited against Lexcel, you'll already have met some of the CPMS that are required for CQS.
By way of example, for the Lexcel accreditation, accredited firms must have a risk management policy – including a compliance plan, a risk register, defined risk management roles and responsibilities and arrangements for communicating risk information. This is an identical requirement for the CQS Accreditation.
Will a CQS assessor ask to view some of the firm's CQS policies ahead of a CQS audit?
Yes some of your CQS policies will be requested ahead of an audit. The Law Society conducted a series of pilot audits to assess the compliance of practices holding CQS accreditation with its requirements. These audits comprised both desk-based and on-site visits. The Law Society has expressed its intention for all CQS-accredited practices to be subject to compliance audits.
Audits require Conveyancing Quality Standard accredited firms to demonstrate compliance with the scheme throughout the residential conveyancing department. It is essential that your practice takes time to assess its readiness for a CQS assessment. This should include the preparation of the CQS policies and procedures.
Does Lexure offer a CQS Policy Template Gap Analysis Service for accredited firms?Lexsure does not currently offer firms a gap analysis for CQS policy documents. We have been asked by a number of accredited firms to offer this as a one-off purchase but this is not a service that is available at the moment.
Do you offer any free webinars on drafting CQS Policy Templates?
There are no current recordings or planned webinars by Lexsure on CQS policies or Core Practice Management Standards. That said, other companies do run webinars on covering the subject matter including those hosted by CQS assessors. Recordings may be available. Although Lexsure are not aware of any webinars that focus solely on drafting CQS policies it is often touched upon, More often than not, they cover the broader subject matter of providing guidance to interpret the requirements of the standard and how to implement them. Topics covered often include the changes to the CQS scheme, key requirements of the Core Practice Management Standard, key areas of the Law Society Conveyancing Protocol (6th Edition), common assessment issues etc
My firm recently attended a Lexsure webinar where CQS Policy Documents was referred to. Please can you send me a copy of the slides?
Please contact email@example.com
Are the CQS guidance notes useful when it comes to complying with the core practice management standards?
There are lots of useful guidance notes for your SRO (Senior Responsible Officer) and other staff regarding the Conveyancing Quality Scheme available from the Law Society. There are important references to policies and procedures.
What outcome can I expect to receive from a CQS assessment?
Once your firm’s CQS audit is concluded (normally 1-2 days), there are a number of potential outcomes in line with the new Core Practice Management Standard. These conclusions potentially include:
- Demonstrate full compliance with CQS
- Minor non-compliance with 21 days to rectify
- Major non-compliance with three months to remedy
The audit is carried out by an accredited CQS assessor who reviews multiple assessment requirements across seven sections of the Core Practice Management Standard. Lexsure is not aware of feedback by assessors specifically concerning CQS policies. This may be due to the limited number of CQS audits carried out to date.
What updates took place to the Core Practice Management Standards (CPMS) in May 2022?
The new Core Practice Management Standards took effect on the 1st May 2022. CQS accredited firms need to make themselves aware of the updates and what they need to do to ensure they remain compliant. The previous standards need adjustment in line with the current conveyancing climate, including risk assessment and technology.
The updates were designed to increase credibility of the CQS and enhance the standards which accredited law firms follow. On-site audits commenced from May 2022 with the new CPMS in place.