Ratcliffe & Bibby discusses their journey with Lexcel Accreditation

Lancashire law firm Ratcliffe & Bibby has been providing independent legal services for over 100 years. With support from Centre for Assessment (CfA), the practice recently achieved Lexcel re-accreditation, having first been awarded the Standard in 2012.

The Lexcel framework places a huge emphasis on continuous improvement, with annual assessments to ensure a firm continues to comply with the requirements. Ratcliffe & Bibby worked with one of CfA’s Lexcel lead assessors, Gill Peach.

"As one of the assessors approved by the Law Society, we have worked with CFA for a number of years and once again they have proved extremely efficient and helpful," explained the firm's Practice Manager, Valerie Draycott.

“Preparing for an assessment and making sure you are providing the right evidence is very time consuming, so having Gill on hand to help us develop a plan for the two day assessment, and to explain which areas were going to be reviewed, was invaluable.”

The Standard focusses on procedural excellence and the quality of service offered to customers, from the management of files and transparency over costs, to cybersecurity and plans for business continuity. Maintaining the Standard is also a requirement of Ratcliffe & Bibby’s contract to offer Legal Aid.

Lexcel brings benefits to employees too, who know they are part of a streamlined organisation, with clear processes and procedures in place that are easily accessible through office manuals or the company Intranet.

“CfA completely understand the workings of our profession,” continues Valerie. “They make suggestions about good practice and help us to review and implement procedures and policies which otherwise may not have been considered, pointing out things we may have missed and helping us to keep as up to date as possible.”

CfA also provides feedback on areas for development that are likely to be covered at the next assessment. “Lexcel is about so much more than passing an assessment and then sitting back until the next re-certification,” adds Valerie. “It’s about continuous improvement and making sure we’re offering an exemplary service and working with CfA helps us to achieve this.”

Richard Hamilton, CfA’s head of business development, adds: “The Standard demands that law firms update, review and report on what they have done, and our assessors are experts at ensuring organisations do this well. In terms of continuous improvement, it’s so important to take on board the views of someone from outside the practice.

“Being accredited to the Lexcel quality mark gives a firm’s clients complete peace-of-mind - they know they are dealing with a company that is committed to customer care and high levels of professionalism.”

Lexcel Accreditation 

Lexcel is The Law Society of England and Wales' accreditation, designed to recognise law firms that are committed to legal excellence.

Centre for Assessment is a licensed Lexcel accreditation body, with hundreds of clients of all sizes across the legal sector.

If you want to achieve excellence in practice management and client care in your law firm, Lexcel accreditation through assessment from Centre for Assessment is the answer.

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