Governance and Engagement
Details of Meetings, Annual Reports, and Risk Assessment can be found through the links below, with further information about Governance, Transparency and Engagement of and by the Faculty Office.
The ‘Approved Regulator’: The Master of the Faculties is the regulator of the profession of Notaries Public in England & Wales, and the Faculty Office (led by the Registrar) assists the Master in her/his functions.
The Master meets regularly with the senior staff of the Faculty Office to discuss regulatory matters.
The Master has two Boards which, whilst not having an executive function, nevertheless assist the Master and the Faculty Office in their regulatory role. The Boards set and monitor Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) as part of their remit.
Full details of meetings, with minutes, agendas, and supporting papers are posted here.
The Faculty Office's Governance Manual is intended to complement the memorandum and articles of association of the incorporated body and sets out additional policies, procedures and controls applicable to the day to day activities of the Faculty Office, its officers and employees.
Master's Annual Address
The Master of the Faculties gives an address to the Annual Conference of the Notaries Society about the profession and the Faculty Office. Current practice is for the Master’s address to take the form of a written report provided to delegates in advance and upon which the Master, Registrar and Chief Clerk of the Faculty Office took questions at the Conference. Copies of the reports are available to read here:
- Master's Address to the Scrivener Notaries & International Union of Notaries ("UINL")
- Master's Address to the Notaries Society Annual Conference 2023
- Master’s Address to The Notaries Society Annual Conference 2022 (earlier Addresses are available upon request to the Faculty Office)
- Business Plan 2022 - 2025
The Registrar of the Faculty Office provides an annual report on its work as regulator of the Notarial Profession.
Each year the Registrar issues:
- An Annual Report on the work of the Faculty Office
- A table showing the Cost of Regulation in a format prescribed by the Legal Services Board in accordance with their “Principles of Costs Transparency” guidance, here: Faculty Office ‘Core Metrics 2022-23
Core Metrics and documents for the previous financial periods are also available for comparison:
The Faculty Office is itself governed by the Legal Services Board and is subject to other governmental and statutory oversight from time to time. Recent documentation on these matters can be found here:
In December 2019 the Legal Services Board completed the latest round of its Regulatory Performance reporting which measures the Approved Regulators’ progress against 26 individual measures under five categories. This can be accessed here and the response of the Faculty office outlining its planned actions can be accessed here
Complaints about a Notary
The Legal Ombudsman (funded by a levy on the legal profession) has a dedicated section on its website for legal service providers.
In this section there is a Guide to Good Complaints Handling.
“Good complaints handling can be positive for firms – dealing with complaints effectively gives consumers confidence that a firm is customer focused. An effective complaints process can also help you learn from mistakes and identify ways to improve the services you are providing, which can only be good for business.”
Complaints about the Faculty Office
We welcome expressions of concern so that failings can be addressed and complaints resolved.
If you wish to make a complaint about the Faculty Office or members of its staff then please complete a Complaints Form annexed to our Complaints Policy and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also make a complaint by telephone although we will normally encourage you to put your complaint into writing. Our telephone number is 020 7222 5381.
The Master has made an order directing that the minimum level of professional indemnity insurance cover for notaries is £1,000,000. Subject to that minimum level of cover, notaries should ensure that professional indemnity insurance cover is at an appropriate level for their practices. Notary-conveyancers and notary-probate practitioners in particular should take out cover for considerably more than the minimum prescribed level.
Fidelity insurance covers claims of mismanagement and legal liability
Fidelity Indemnity Insurance is arranged by the Notaries Guarantee Limited.
Notaries need to ensure their work as a notary is specifically covered if insurance cover is via their (solicitor’s) law practice.
Please see the Accounts Rules.
The Faculty Office has identified the holding of client money as a high risk in its Assurance (Risk and Supervision) Policy .
Each year every notary who holds client money must deliver an Accountant’s Report to the Faculty Office. The Accountant acknowledges a duty of care to the Master in the production of the report.
Client money will include money held on account of fees.
Accountant’s Report: The Form and Check List for the Accountant’s Report can be found here.
Each year the Faculty Office requires an annual return from each notary before it will renew their practising certificate. This return will include:
- Professional Indemnity Insurance information
- Continuing Professional Education certification
- Anti-money risk assessment and measures
- Types of work undertaken (for example whether a notary provides conveyancing and probate services)
- An accountant’s report for notaries holding client monies
This information is captured in a report of the core metrics about the profession. It is used by the Faculty Office to inform its regulatory function and risk assessment. The Report can be viewed under the heading 'Cost of Regulation'.
“….transparent accountable proportionate consistent and targeted only at cases where action is needed” [Legal Services Act 2007]
The Faculty Office has produced and published its Assurance (Risk and Supervision) Policy against which the Faculty Office risk assesses its activities.
Inspections of notarial practices are governed by the Notaries (Inspections) Regulations 2014. The inspectors submitted their annual report to the Faculty Office for 2022, which is available to read here: Inspections Report 2022 (issued September 2023).
Inspections are carried out by senior notaries. Following an inspection, the inspector completes a standard Questionnaire. This forms the basis of the inspection report.
Guidance on the procedure for the retention and disposal of documents and personal data for Inspectors on completion of a notarial inspection can be found here.
The Inspectors "Top 10 Tips for Notarial Excellence" can be found here.
All inspection reports are reviewed by the Master and Senior Management Team and, if any issues are identified, the Senior Officers Team will contact the notary to resolve them.
Earlier reports are linked below for reference.
- Inspections Report 2021 (Issued June 2022)
- Inspections Report 2020 (Issued March 2021)
- Inspections Report 2019 (issued December 2019)
- Inspections Report 2018 (issued December 2018)
- Inspections Report 2017 (issued December 2017)
- Inspections Report 2016 (issued September 2016)
- Inspections Report 2015 (issued March 2016)
As part of the annual practising certificate renewal process, the Faculty Office has collected information from Notaries about aspects of their practice so that it can better understand the make-up and nature of the profession, the types of work undertaken, and the level of gross fee income. These statistics are used by the Faculty Office to inform its regulatory functions and risk assessments. Some of the data collected in the 2013/14 and 2015/16 renewals has been collated to provide a snapshot of the profession, and analysed by the Faculty Office. Please click on the link below to view the results:
Analysis of the Notarial Profession; 2015/16 practising certificate renewals
The legal profession and wider legal services workforce should reflect the society it serves. To achieve a profession which is truly representative at all levels requires regulators and the profession itself to identify barriers to entry and progression and begin to break them down. By doing this, we will ensure that the legal workforce is open to the widest possible pool of talent. The Legal Services Act 2007 includes a specific regulatory objective to “encourage a strong, independent, diverse and effective legal profession.” The Equality Act 2010 also puts approved regulators under a duty to advance equality of opportunity between different groups. As part of its work in these areas, once every three years, the Faculty Office collects data about the profession, through a voluntary questionnaire which all Notaries are requested to complete. This data is collated and is published to display equality and diversity statistics about the profession. Please click on the links below to view the results:
Results of 2011-2012 Notaries Diversity and Equality Questionnaire
The Faculty Office exercises a disciplinary function over Notaries (including Scrivener Notaries) in England & Wales. Disciplinary Proceedings in the Court of Faculties are conducted in accordance with the Notaries (Conduct and Discipline) Rules 2015 and the Notaries (Conduct and Discipline) Fees and Costs Order 2015.
Further information can be found on our page about the Notary Complaints Procedure.