Regulatory Performance Assessment framework

We hold the legal services regulators to account for their performance. This is key to delivering public confidence in legal services and is a core statutory function. By assessing regulators’ performance, we drive improvements in how they regulate and encourage them to be well-led organisations who strive to be more effective and efficient.

We monitor, review and assess regulators under our regulatory performance assessment framework to ensure they meet the minimum expected standard of performance across the regulatory performance standards. More detail about the framework, including process documents, is set out below.

Our current and previous reports on regulators’ performance can be found on the following webpages:

Current regulatory performance assessments

Previous regulatory performance assessments

Our current regulatory performance framework

Our regulatory performance framework is proportionate, risk-based and evidence-based.

Through it, we determine whether the regulator has met the minimum expected standard of performance across the five regulatory performance standards:

  • Regulatory Approach
  • Authorisation
  • Supervision
  • Enforcement
  • Well-led

Our current regulatory performance standards and outcomes are available to view here (PDF).

To assure ourselves about regulators’ performance, we assess a range of evidence sources including a performance management dataset that the regulators provide to us, stakeholder feedback and publicly available documentation such as Board papers and minutes. If we are unable to assure ourselves about performance through our assessment of available evidence, or we have reason to be concerned about a regulator’s performance, we may undertake a review of its performance against one or all of the standards.

The following documents explain how we assess performance under the framework:

2020 update to the current framework

In July 2020 we added an additional regulatory outcome (PDF) (WL7) to the Well-led standard following our review of the internal governance rules which govern relationships between the approved regulators and the regulatory bodies. We first assessed approved regulators and regulatory bodies’ performance against this outcome in November 2020.

In our decision document (PDF): Internal Governance Rules – Enhancing regulatory independence, published on 24 July 2019, we explained that we would be gaining assurance on compliance with the IGR through the regulatory performance framework. This addendum to the regulatory performance framework means:

  1. the addition of a new outcome to the Well-led standard in our regulatory performance framework which will apply to all Approved Regulators and Regulatory Bodies to monitor regulatory independence; and
  2. the inclusion in our regulatory performance framework of the six Approved Regulators that also have separate Regulatory Bodies but only in relation to monitoring their delegation and assurance of regulatory functions as required under the IGR.

Development of our current framework

We published our current framework in 2017 and following an 18-month transitional period we fully implemented it in 2019.

Our current framework is the result of a review of our previous one and a consultation we conducted in 2017. Our current framework builds on our previous work and benefits from the learning we gained from our review and consulting with stakeholders and interested parties.

We reviewed our approach to ensure it:

  • provided sufficient assurance about how the regulators are performing
  • operated in a risk-based, proportionate and targeted way
  • clearly linked to the regulatory objectives and the better regulation principles

Further information on how we developed our current regulatory performance framework can be found in the closed consultations section of our website and the related decision document (PDF).

Previous framework

Our previous approach to assuring ourselves, the public, consumers, the professions and others about the regulators’ performance was developed in 2011. We used this approach when carrying out regulatory standards exercises in 2012/13, 2015 and 2016, and when we sought an update on regulatory performance action plans in 2017. Information about how the process was developed can be found in our 2011 discussion paper (PDF) and the related decision document (PDF).

Further information

For further information, please contact Angela Latta