Eclipse Legal Systems is set to launch a dedicated COLP and COFA toolset. As of 1st January 2013, authorised legal services firms must have a Compliance Officer for Legal Practice (COLP) and a Compliance Officer for Finance and Administration (COFA). The COLP will be responsible for ensuring their firms’ compliance with all its regulatory obligations, while the COFA will be responsible for ensuring compliance with the SRA Accounts Rules.
Eclipse’s new compliance toolset will be a fully integrated feature of the Proclaim Case and Practice Management System, assisting with the extensive obligations required by the SRA. Among the tools that Proclaim users will have access to are:
• A Risk Register to track potential SRA breaches, e.g. client care issues or internal issues picked up by the COLP or COFA. An MI suite will allow the flagging and analysis of breaches, as well as recording solutions and outcomes of any SRA involvement.
• A standard and configurable reporting system to interrogate data and provide insight into trends and risk levels. Reports can be automated to run with no manual intervention, streamlining the compliance process and bringing appropriate data to the attention of the COLP or COFA.
• A Compliance Library providing a centralised store for accessing compliance plans, office manuals, and relevant SRA documentation.
Russell Thomson, Chief Business Executive at Eclipse, comments on the development: “The perception for many firms is that setting in place systems for compliance will present a huge overhead in terms of expense and resource. By using the Proclaim toolsets we are providing, risk is better managed and the role of the COLP and COFA becomes less onerous.”
COMMENT: Amazing how in 12 months the legal IT sector has moved from “COLP and what?” to recognising it as a core part of the practice management environment. Good news for law firms – not so good news for those vendors who were offering stand-alone systems to fill the gap PMS suppliers had until now been ignoring.