21 April 2022

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ACL Council publishes first annual business plan

New chair describes document as “compass to point us in the right direction”

Modernising the ACL’s operations, better engagement with the Costs Lawyer community and promoting members’ interests are at the heart of the ACL’s 2022/23 business plan, which was approved by the Council this week.

The first such plan to be published, new chair Jack Ridgway said that “a map without a compass is of little use”. Introducing the document, he said: “The business plan is our compass, to point us in the right direction as we navigate an ever-changing legal landscape.”

He continued: “To do that, we will remind ourselves of our mission and our values, reflect on how our business fulfils our mission [and] plot the right direction for the Association in 2022 and what we must do to achieve this.”

He described the ACL’s mission as being “to protect and promote the interests of Costs Lawyers to the consumer and wider legal profession; to encourage those working in, or wishing to join, the legal costs industry to become Costs Lawyers, and to contribute to the development of law relating to legal costs”.

The Council has identified three core values of the association to be reflected in each part of the business plan, with the intention of reviewing them every three years. They are ‘community first’, inclusive and proactive.

The plan explained that the purpose of the ACL “is to represent and develop the Costs Lawyer community and all those involved put the interests of the community before their individual interests, or those of their clients or employers”.

It called the profession’s diversity “our strength” and committed the ACL to working actively to remove barriers to entry to the Costs Lawyer community. Finally, representing members has to be done “in a proactive, rather than reactive, manner”.

The plan listed three “big projects” for the coming year: modernising the ACL to ensuring its operations “provide the greatest benefit to members”; engagement, to “find out what matters to you and [explore] how to bring more non-member Costs Lawyers into the association; and representation, “promoting our members interests”.

This was in the context of focusing on the “capabilities and functions” of the ACL over the next 12 months to position it properly for the medium term. “The goal is to develop the foundation that will allow improved member benefits and services, this is referred to as the ‘value proposition’.”

The financial projections are for a profit of nearly £30,000 in the year. The plan noted: “Astute business decisions under the previous chair, and the change in office premises and personnel, will result in a notable sum of yearly expenditure becoming available for redeployment into other areas of the business.

“These resources are likely to be redeployed in 2022 to increasing the functionality of the operations team and in 2023 to provide additional member benefits. It is anticipated that there will be one-off capital expenditure during 2022 for recruitment, moving premises, updating the association website and any changes of supplier.”

The plan, which details activity for each quarter, can be read in full here.