Bird & Co’s conveyancing team are members of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS). This is one of the ways we provide assurance to our clients that we are offering the high-quality conveyancing services they deserve.
But what exactly is the Conveyancing Quality Scheme? What does a firm have to do to become a member? And what does this mean for a firm’s clients?
Here, we answer these important questions, as well as covering some of the other reasons to choose Bird & Co for your conveyancing.
To see how much your conveyancing might cost, you can get a no-obligation quote online.
What is the Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS)?
The Conveyancing Quality Scheme or ‘CQS’ is a scheme run by the Law Society, which is the independent professional body for solicitors in England and Wales. It acts as a quality assurance mark for firms offering conveyancing services, so clients can have confidence in those services. It is the main form of conveyancing accreditation for law firms in England and Wales.
The CQS sets required standards for firms to become members of the scheme. A firm must be regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and meet minimum standards of competence, risk management and client service in order to be CQS accredited.
The idea behind the Conveyancing Quality Scheme is that firms will get the support and guidance needed to make sure they are offering a safe, reliable service, while CQS membership offers independent verification for clients that a particular firm can be trusted with their transaction.
Bird & Co were early adopters of the scheme and have held accreditation for over 10 years.
What does a firm need to do to be CQS accredited?
Firms must apply to the CQS and pay an application fee and a membership fee based on the size of the firm. Each firm must appoint a ‘Senior Responsible Person’ or ‘SRO’ who will be accountable to the Law Society for the firm’s compliance with the terms of the CQS.
To achieve membership of the CQS, the firm will need to read and understand the scheme rules, then complete an application form detailing how the firm complies with these rules. The CQS will then review the application and make a decision on whether to admit the applicant firm to the scheme.
If a firm is accepted into the scheme, then all relevant members of staff will need to complete training set by the CQS within six months of accreditation being granted. This helps to ensure a consistent service is being offered to clients in compliance with the CQS rules.
Firms must renew their accreditation every 12 months, which helps to demonstrate that accredited members of the Conveyancing Quality Scheme are continually providing the required standard of service.
The Law Society also carries out random audits of accredited firms to ensure that they are meeting the expected standards.
Why does CQS accreditation matter to clients?
As a client, when you see that a firm is a Conveyancing Quality Scheme member, you should expect that they will offer you:
- Suitable expertise to deliver appropriate conveyancing advice
- Clear guidance on the expected costs of their conveyancing services specific to your requirements
- A service underpinned by effective, standardised processes to reduce and properly manage any risks
What this means is that working with accredited CQS solicitors offers assurance that your conveyancing transaction is in safe hands, that you will know upfront how much your conveyancing is likely to cost and that you have the best chance of a smooth, successful transaction with no nasty surprises.
Another key benefit of working with a CQS accredited firm, like Bird & Co, is that membership is required by many mortgage lenders. This means that a firm that is not a CQS member would not be able to handle your transaction if this was a requirement set by that lender’s panel.
Lenders who require CQS membership from conveyancing firms include major mortgage providers such as Nationwide, HSBC, Metro Bank and Santander. You could, therefore, be seriously limiting your choice of mortgage lenders if you do not work with a CQS accredited conveyancing firm.
What is the CQS client service charter?
The CQS client service charter says that, when a potential client contacts a member firm, then the member will clearly explain:
- The steps in the process
- What the client can expect from their solicitor
- What the costs of the transaction will be
Once a client has chosen to work with a CQS member, the member will:
- Keep the client informed of progress
- Work in compliance with the quality standards set out in the CQS
- Treat the client fairly
- Act politely and professionally
- Respond promptly to enquiries
- Communicate any problems to the client immediately
- Seek feedback on the service
As well as offering the assurance of being members of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme, there are also a number of other reasons why we believe Bird & Co is a great choice for your conveyancing.
Our CQS conveyancing solicitors can offer you:
- A specialist online conveyancing service – So you can access our conveyancing services anywhere in the UK or worldwide.
- National expertise – As we act for clients nationwide, we have experience handling the full range of conveyancing transactions, including those that are highly complex and involve niche issues. This helps us to stand out from many purely local firms.
- Direct access to the lawyer handling your case – So you can always get answers when you need them and will get regular updates on your case.
- Secure systems and processes – We are constantly reviewing and updating our systems and processes, so your money, your data and your property are safe. We are also fully insured just in case anything should ever go wrong.
- A modern, simple and efficient service – Having handled thousands of transactions over the years, we have refined our processes to cut out all unnecessary stress while making our clients’ conveyancing experiences smoother and faster.
- Competitive fees with a clear quote upfront – See how much your conveyancing might cost by getting a no-obligation quote online.
Our conveyancing fees
Cost is obviously one of the main factors people will look at when searching for a conveyancing solicitor. At Bird & Co, we work hard to make sure that our fees are fair and reasonable for the quality of work we carry out. We regularly benchmark out costs against other firms and keep our overheads as low as possible so we can offer the best value for our clients.
We will be happy to provide a quote upfront and, in the vast majority of cases, we can offer fixed fee conveyancing. This means we will agree a price at the outset and this is exactly what you will pay.
Where there are any third-party costs (such as Land Registry fees), these will be included in your initial quote. The only time there might be additional costs is if your needs change or any unexpected issues occur. In such an event, this will be discussed with you as early as possible and no additional billable work will be carried out without your express agreement.
For further information, please visit our fees page. The cost of your property transaction will ultimately depend on the individual circumstances of your case, so please feel free to get in touch for a tailored conveyancing quote.