The Scottish Paralegal Association

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04 Apr

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Charities must tackle vulnerability to fraud

High-profile fraud cases such as last year’s £500,000 vishing scam against the Highland Hospice have put Scottish charities on their guard, but this may not help them spot what the next fraud will look like.

Charities of all sizes are struggling to deal with the tide of attempts to defraud them.  This is a serious and very prevalent risk issue for charity trustees.

Rather than look out for specific types of scam, it’s more important to have systems in place to protect against the unexpected. Fraud can take any number of forms – cybercrime, banking fraud, procurement fraud, grant fraud, data breaches and more.

It can also threaten the fundamental survival of a charity: it’s not just about the money taken, but the loss of future funding as well: donors will be wary of giving money to organisations that can’t look after it.

So every charity and every trustee has to take fraud risks seriously.

The problem for charities is that fraud attacks can come from all sides, not just outside the organisation. Research from the Charities Commission, based on England and Wales, found that a third of charity fraud involved staff, volunteers or trustees.

How, then, can charities protect themselves?

The first way is to deploy common sense and caution. OSCR’s Fraud and Cybercrime factsheet reminds charities to check bank statements, change passwords, and not give out information over the phone.

One banking vulnerability many charities need to patch is having systems based on business practices that are out of date. For example, the standard practice of requiring two signatories for cheques is insufficient if an individual staff member can authorise large payments online.

Charities must also look at their wider governance arrangements. In particular, they must anticipate the possibility of fraud by trustees (including office bearers) and staff, volunteers or other individuals who know how their processes work.

Trustees should implement a range of checks and balances including: risk assessment procedures around the charity’s structure and financial accountability; controls on access to electronic information; and systems for staff or volunteers to report anxieties around possible fraud.  Written procedures and policies should be updated and reviewed by professional advisors.

Charities may also want tighten up their accounting or scrutiny arrangements. One Scottish charity only found out a staff member had embezzled £220,000 over a seven-year period when it brought in an outside firm to set up a pension scheme.

Reviewing governance systems around fraud prevention is uninviting when charities are hard-pressed for time, and more engaged with their mission and activity than administrative processes. But fraud prevention is essential for every charity’s financial and reputational health.

Having trustees with relevant financial and accounting skills can be useful here. They don’t have to be involved in the day-to-day financial minutiae, but will know how to ask the right questions and implement robust processes.

Secondly, trustee training and governance reviews (which we regularly undertake for a range of charity clients) can be helpful for shining the spotlight on all corners of the organisation, making it harder for fraudsters inside or outside to exploit weaknesses.

Fraud’s always going to evolve, and fraudsters will always be creative. So charities need to evolve their own practices too. The Tackling Charity Fraud Checklist, from the Fraud Advisory Panel, is a good starting-point.

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12 Mar
Review of the regulation of legal services

Review of the regulation of legal services

The form Review of the regulation of legal services is no longer accepting responses.

 We will advise of future surveys in our newsletter.
01 Mar

By: admin

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Annual Conference 2018 – Tickets on sale!

Our 2017 Annual Conference was an undeniable success with over 130 paralegals in attendance, enjoying CPD verifiable presentations on Conveyancing, Executry, Criminal, Licensing, Civil and Debt Recovery.

Tickets are now on sale for the 2018 conference.

Annual Conference 2018
Thursday 19th April 2018
Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow

05 Feb
Annual Conference 2018 – Tickets on sale!

Our 2017 Annual Conference was an undeniable success with over 130
paralegals in attendance, enjoying CPD verifiable presentations on
Conveyancing, Executry, Criminal, Licensing, Civil and Debt Recovery.

Tickets are now on sale for the 2018 conference.

Annual Conference 2018
Thursday 19th April 2018
Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow

If you wish to exhibit at the conference or if you are interested in sponsoring the event then please contact Sandra at info@scottish-paralegal.org.uk for further details.

19 Sep
Leading Legal Excellence: For the Greater Good – Law Society of Scotland Annual Conference 2017

Tuesday 19 September, 9.15am – 5.30pm, Edinburgh International Conference Centre

 

This year the Law Society of Scotland’s Annual Conference places the power of the law to work for the greater good and the motivations – simple or inspirational – with which we all started out in the legal profession firmly in the spotlight.

Keynote speakers include the Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC on maintaining the rule of law and the interests of justice in a time of change; Lord President of the Court of Session Lord Carloway reflecting on the future of the Scottish courts; Burness Paull chairman Philip Rodney asking just where Scottish businesses go from here in a world of seemingly unsolvable problems and Olympic gold medallist Dame Katherine Grainger sharing the secrets of her incredible success.

Away from the main stage, there is a wide variety of panel sessions to choose from, addressing topics from workplace revolutionising legal technology; helping the vulnerable and those in most need; and equality and diversity with panellists including Karyn McCluskey, Aamer Anwar, Paul Brown and Jolyon Maugham QC to mention just a few.

The conference provides six hours of verifiable CPD and there will also be the opportunity to visit the Law Society of Scotland’s Accredited Paralegal stand, as well as many other exhibitors.

To celebrate the launch of the Law Society of Scotland’s Accredited Paralegal status, Accredited Paralegals can save 20% on the cost of their conference ticket. Accredited Paralegals should email cpd@lawscot.org.uk to request the required booking link.

 

For the full details of theconference or to book your place visit www.lawscot.org.uk/conference2017

05 Sep
Modern Thinking in Conveyancing 2017 – Millar & Bryce

To view details about this event click the Image below:

17 Jul
SPA Annual Conference 2017 – Tickets ON SALE!

Our 2016 Annual Conference was an undeniable success with over 130
paralegals in attendance, enjoying CPD verifiable presentations on
Conveyancing, Executry, Criminal, Licensing, Civil and Debt Recovery.

Tickets are now on sale for the 2017 conference.

Annual Conference 2017
Thursday 20th April 2017
Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow

If you wish to exhibit at the conference or if you are interested in sponsoring the event then please contact Sandra at info@scottish-paralegal.org.uk for further details.

Save the date.pdf

16 Mar
SPA Annual Conference 2017 Agenda

To download you conference agenda click on the image below.

We look forward to seeing you.

10 Mar
AGM Agenda 2017

SCOTTISH PARALEGAL ASSOCIATION

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

TO BE HELD ON SATURDAY 1st April, 2017 AT 1PM AT GRAND CENTRAL HOTEL, GLASGOW

 

AGENDA

  1. President’s Introduction and Annual Review
  2. Treasurer’s Accounts and Report
  3. Election of Office Bearers

President:                    Sandra Reid

Vice President:             Paul Kirkwood-Allen

Treasurer:                    Alison Smith

Secretary:                    Louis Duguid

Committee Members:

Reelection of Anne McDowall

Election of New Members –Bilaal Shabbir and Anne Clark

  1. Proposed Changes to Constitution
    1. Name:

Change address to –

Atria One, 144 Morrison Street, Edinburgh EH3 8EX

  1. Objects:

Change the word Objects in the heading and in the first line to “objectives”.

In line 4 after the word “Scotland” add a comma and the words “England and Wales”.

  1. Subscriptions

Add at end of paragraph:

New members joining after 1st June each year will only pay a pro-rata  payment of the membership fee.

  1. AGM

In the event that the AGM is held before the annual conference and the  President is standing down that year, the takeover date for the new President  will be the annual conference.

Add new point at end:

  1. Law Society of Scotland RP Committee and any future name that the RP Scheme may be called

There will be a committee member elected to be the SPA representative on the Law Society RP Committee and if that committee member leaves the SPA committee then they will be required to step down from the Law Society RP Committee so that there is always a current SPA committee member on the Law Society RP Committee at all times.

  1. AOB
12 Dec
Paralegal of the Year 2017

Its that exciting time of the year – SPA Paralegal of the Year nominations!  Don’t be shy, please nominate yourself (or someone else can nominate you, if you are shy!) for this Award.

Applications will be accepted between Monday 12th December, 2016 until Thursday 28th February, 2017.

The winner will be announced at our SPA Conference on 20th April, 2017 at Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow.

Our sponsors of the award are Millar & Bryce.

Look forward to receiving your application and lots of luck with your entry.

Please send your application to info@scottish-paralegal.org.uk.