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. A note of the decisions taken is published here
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.
Priorities for 2020: The Master of the Faculties has set a number of priorities which the Faculty Office is required to focus on for the current year – download here: Faculty Office Priorities for 2020.
Further information on the Master’s priorities may be found in the minutes of the Master’s Annual Notarial Forum published here.
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 Notaries Society Annual Conference 2019
- (earlier Addresses are available upon request to the Faculty Office)
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’ 2019
Core Metrics 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
The Faculty Office follows a simple process as its complaints and discipline system which is used in the relatively small number of complaints which it receives about the conduct of the notaries which it regulates. Further information may be found in the Service and Conduct Complaints section of this website, and in the Code of Practice. Disciplinary Cases are listed here.
Complaints procedure – wording for clients:
The Prescribed form of Complaints Wording (which must be provided by Notaries to their clients) can be downloaded here.
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.”
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. In December 2019 the inspectors submitted their annual report to the Faculty Office for the previous year, which is available to read here: Inspections Report 2019 (issued December 2019).
Inspections are carried out by senior notaries. Following an inspection, the inspector completes a standard Questionnaire. This forms the basis of the inspection report.
All inspection reports are reviewed by the Master and Senior Management Team and, if any issues are identified, the Senior OfficersTeam will contact the notary to resolve them.
The 2018 Inspections KPI data which looks at further activities arising from the Inspections can be seen here.
At the end of each year a summary report is published.
Earlier reports are linked below for reference.
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
Results of 2014-2015 Notaries Diversity and Equality Questionnaire
Results of 2017-2018 Notaries Diversity and Equality Questionnaire
The 2017-18 data has been analysed further and broken down against the diversity characteristics in various ‘post-admission’ bands. The data supports the anecdotal evidence that recent admissions represent a more diverse cohort than has been the case in the past. The data can be viewed here:
Breakdown of 2017-2018 Diversity and Equality Data
Priorities for 2020
The Master of the Faculties has set a number of priorities which he requires the Faculty Office to focus on for the current year – download here: Faculty Office Priorities for 2020.
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.