Law Society to invest £61million on IT infrastructure

The Law Society has announced plans to spend a staggering £61million on state-of-the-art IT systems in a bid to improve reliability.

The Society’s ruling council agreed that the substantial amount would be spent over a four year period, and that there would be “robust governance processes” around the work, to prevent a repeat of past failures.

The Society has reportedly built up savings for the job, reducing the total net cost to around £37million.

£30 million of the total fee will be spent in 2016/17, £13.8 million of which will be funded from practising fees and the rest paid for by capital budgets and reserves.

The Law Society and the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) had each developed “IT strategies and roadmaps” and plan to “proceed with the implementation of these roadmaps in order to address the very significant deficiencies in the IT on which both bodies rely”, a paper read.

It continued: “The full implementation of the roadmaps will result in the SRA and The Law Society having separate IT systems, specifically designed to support the different business needs of each body, supported by separate IT teams in each body. As a result it is planned that not only will services be more secure, resilient and flexible but that IT running costs for both SRA and The Law Society will reduce significantly.

“In addition, the improved services will enable the realisation of business, customer service and cost benefits in both organisations.”

The society has had a less than desirable history with previous IT systems.

“We can’t fix the past, but we can learn from it”, said Law Society Chief executive, Catherine Dixon, when questioned about a failed IT project under Project Engineer over a decade ago.

The Society is due to raise £99.9 million in 2016/17, down from £105.8million last year, after it was forced to write off £5.1million when work on an alternative regulatory database was ditched. Around £13.8million will be funded from practising fees, with the rest paid for by any under-spend in the 2016 capital budgets and then reserves.

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