Lexcel 4.1 - An Update to the Standard
The Lexcel Standard, Version 4.1 - an Update to the Standard.
The current Lexcel standard, version 4.0 will change to 4.1 from January 2011. Until that time, for all practices that currently have the standard, if their annual maintenance visit or assessment falls before then, it is optional whether they do this to the new standard. After January 2011, it will be compulsory.
So what are the changes?
Well our first look at the new standard reveals there is a general tightening up of several things.
The first of these is in the Structures and Policies section, where the risk management policy has been more clearly defined, and there is a requirement for a review of the policy to occur annually, to ascertain whether it is working effectively.This annual review requirement of all policies now seems to apply across the board, whereas in the past it only applied to a few of the key policies.
We checked the Community and Social Responsibility policy, which was optional in the previous version. It still appears to be optional, but we will have to confirm this.
The next change we noticed was a review of services to be conducted every six months. While this was a requirement for business plans previously, it was not so precise for service plans.
The next difference was a requirement to review the ICT plan annually.
There has been a change in the financial requirements section as well. This now states that "Practices will have a procedure in relation to billing clients, including;
a. the frequency and terms for billing clients
b. credit terms for new and existing clients
c. the person responsible for the procedures
d. a documented review of the procedures at least annually to verify they are in effective operation across the practice."
To go with this, again, a documented review of procedures for financial transactions will be needed.
The Information Management, Email, Website and Internet Policies all appear to be the same, however they all are now required to have a documented annual review.
With all these annual reviews and policies, there now has to be a central register of policies and plans kept, with the person responsible for them clearly identified.
The people section of the standard hasn't escaped either, there has to be an annual review of the recruitment plan and the training and development plans. There is also a new requirement for practice personnel detailing the steps to be taken when someone ceases to be an employee.
Moving on into the risk areas of the standard, there is a tightening up on mortgage fraud, and a documented review on how procedures to avoid this are working across the practice.
Key dates is also tighter, with a definition of key dates by work type being required, and a process for monitoring them.
Client Care is another policy that requires an annual review, and practices also have to have a record of any standing terms of business with regular clients, and be able to produce them.
These seem to be the main differences, however we will be receiving training on the new standard and will highlight any further items of note in a future article.