1000th application for CQS received by Law Society

Since January 2011 solicitor practices have been able to apply to join the Conveyancing Quality Scheme.  The intention is to create a trusted community of solicitors to deter fraud and improve standards year on year.  The Law Society hopes the Conveyancing Quality Scheme will enable solicitors to rebuild the trust from their clients (including lenders) and from their insurers which they once had.
Whilst the concept is laudable many firms have been deterred by the cost and the complexity of the process.  A 7 partner firm would typically pay £750 plus VAT for their application and first year’s membership and whilst the target service level for the process is intended to be 4-6 weeks Today’s Conveyancer is aware of many firms that have been waiting a lot longer than that.
Despite the challenges of driving up applications the Law Society have informed Today’s Conveyancer that the CQS scheme now has received 1000 applications with 285 firms being accredited up to now.  Five months since the start of the process it feels as though take up of the scheme has been slower than the Law Society might have wished but the critical number of 1000 applications certainly feels like a threshold for them to celebrate.
With the majority of solicitor practices still not having applied and considerable delays occurring for those that have applied in being accredited there is a challenge, will lenders be prepared to wait for a critical mass of solicitors to become accredited or take matters into their own hands.
Some lenders have already significantly reduced their panel sizes for example, Santander and Nationwide have already been singled out for criticism by the Law Society for their removal of conveyancers from their general conveyancing panels.  If the CQS does not demonstrate that it can rebuild trust quickly with lenders what might happen?
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