Although membership of the ILFM is not exclusive for COFAs, we feel that as the professional institute for legal finance & management, it's a very good fit for you if you're looking for independent advice, support and resources to help you in your day-to-day role.
The ILFM is not an outsourcing consultancy for COFAs - We have a close relationship with the SRA as the regulator, we provide fully independent advice, support and resources as the professional institute to support you in your role and ensure you can remain fully compliant.
As the not-for-profit professional institute we try to help all who need it across the industry, much of our content is available to all. As an ILFM Member we can offer many more services and resource to help you. (12 months Membership is just £120+vat).
How can we help you?
- COFA Corner Library
- Access to several ILFM Guides and Practice Notes
- Useful Documents Library
- Live Chat Support
- Full Access to our COFA Forum on ILFMConnect to connect with experts and other COFAs.
- Discounted Member and Earlybird rates for our training. Including our COFA Workshop.
- 6 Copies Print or Digital of our professional journal - including the popular COFA Corner column.
- Full access to ILFM Answers knowledgebase
- Full access to our ILFM COFA Resources Page
- Access to our Professional Qualification courses
The role of Compliance Officers for Finance and Administration (COFAs) is an integral part of the move to outcomes-focused regulation and key to the SRA aim that firms will take responsibility for managing risks to their delivery of legal services.
The COFA should be a champion of risk management and compliance within a firm, and will have responsibility for the firm's systems and controls. They are responsible for ensuring processes are in place to enable the firm, its managers and employees and anyone who has any interest in the firm to comply with Handbook requirements on them.
The type of systems needed are not prescribed as these will very much depend on what is appropriate for the type and size of the firm, its areas of risk, and the type of work and client base.
As a COFA you are not solely responsible for compliance with Handbook requirements. All individuals in the firm have a role to play in complying with the requirements of the Handbook. Ultimately compliance is the responsibility of the firm and its managers. However, the COFA has a key role in ensuring that suitable systems and controls are in place, in recording breaches, and in reporting material breaches to the SRA.
The designated COFA must:
be an individual;
be a manager or an employee of the authorised body (or be an approved COFA in a related authorised body);
consent to their designation as the COFA;
be of sufficient seniority and responsibility to fulfil the role;
not be disqualified from being a Head of Finance and Administration (HOFA) - as appropriate;
Individuals who are COFAs must also be fit and proper to undertake the role/s. This is assessed by taking into account the criteria in the SRA Suitability Test 2011 and any other relevant information. The assessment as to whether you are fit and proper is undertaken upon initial approval, and should also be considered by the firm throughout the currency of the approval. If you are no longer fit and proper, we may withdraw approval for your role.