The Mindstep Lockdown Relay took place over the weekend with more than 120 people participating including many of the Convey365 Team!
Lloyd, Georgia, Kath, Sabina, James, Alex and strongman Ollie all participated in the relay which ran non-stop from Friday 5pm – Sunday 8pm, each volunteer completing one hour of exercise, 51 hours in total.
The activities varied from walking, running, dancing, flipping tyres, box jumping, jet washing a patio, DJ’ing and sprints across the Severn Bridge at 5am. One person achieved 761 burpees in an hour!
The Lockdown Relay aimed to raise awareness of the long-lasting effects COVID -19 has had on mental health and to support suicide prevention research. The event raised an incredible £17,000 for suicide prevention research – over 3x Mindstep’s original target!
Thank you to all those who took part and those who donated via the Just Giving page.
Since its establishment in 2004 Charity fundraising has been at the heart of Convey365’s work ethic and culture. This week, after 16 years of fundraising Convey365 reach a huge fundraising milestone of £800,978.37 and still counting!
In 2010 Lloyd established The Conveyancing Foundation to support legal practices with charity fundraising. Companies registered with The Conveyancing Foundation ask their clients if they would like to enter the Free Legal Fee Competition by making a £10 donation to charity. The client is then entered into a monthly Prize Draw, where the winner receives up to £500 towards their Legal Fees.
The Competition has been recognised by royalty with His Royal Highness Prince Charles congratulating the team on their fundraising efforts in 2017.
The Foundation has also received immense support over the years from the Conveyancing Association, the Society of Licensed Conveyancers and Bold Group Members.
Money raised through Convey365 and The Conveyancing Foundation has helped support thousands of families in England and Wales over the years.
Ty Hafan, one of the UK’s leading paediatric palliative care charities has been a key benefactor. The Ty Hafan team offer care to children and support for their families throughout Wales in incredibly difficult times. Convey365 has donated more than £300,000 over the years to this charity, with Convey365 MD Lloyd Davies Appointed as Ty Hafan’s Corporate Ambassador in 2014.
Convey365 has also raised over £80,000 for Children with Cancer UK, the leading national children’s charity dedicated to the fight against childhood cancer.
Other brilliant causes include Alzheimer’s Research UK, BBC Children in Need and Mindstep Foundation.
Convey365 has hosted and participated in various fundraising events over the years including the Ty Hafan China Trek that raised over £12,000 and Convey365’s regular dress down days which have raised over £20,000.
Chairman of the Conveyancing Foundation and MD of Convey365, Lloyd Davies:
“Thank you for your hard work and for supporting each other and those less fortunate than us.”
To sign up to The Conveyancing Foundation’s legal fee competition or to make a donation, please contact email@example.com.
Lloyd Davies MD of Convey365 was approached by Today’s Conveyancer to provide his expert opinion on how conveyancing transactions can be sped up.
Today’s Conveyancer reports:
Transactions already underway in the sector may not complete before the deadline due to hold-ups and delays because of unprecedented pressures on the conveyancing industry – But who in the sector is causing the hold-ups?
There has been a big debate over transaction delays, more recently in the last few weeks, due to the sheer volume of purchases being processed in response to the easing of restrictions after lockdowns, and of course, the stamp duty holiday ending on March 31 next year.
After property sector industry bodies collaborated and sent an open and frank letter to the Chancellor urging him to extend the stamp duty land tax (SDLT) holiday, conveyancing professionals voiced their concerns over the lack of SDLT extension in the Chancellor’s spending review last month.
Rob Hailstone, chief executive of the Bold Legal Group has said that some mortgage lenders are making the current delays in the housebuying process worse as some lenders are struggling under the current pressure of work. He said:
“Conveyancers are finding it difficult to get confirmation that the Certificate of Title (requesting the mortgage money for completion) has been received and all is in order for completion. They are also experiencing difficulty when requesting and receiving redemption figures in good time.
“Some firms won’t now exchange until the CoT has been submitted and it has been acknowledged that there is no problem”
It has been confirmed by one lender that they no longer produce redemption figures in advance of the completion date and that instead they only produce them ‘on the day.’
“How are conveyancers supposed to prepare for completion if they can’t obtain a redemption figure – not even an indicative one – in advance of completion?”
Conveyancers, lenders, surveyors, estate agents and local authorities have been working tirelessly since the Chancellor’s announcement of SDLT holiday – where house buyers are exempt from paying the property tax on the first £500,000. It is due to end on March 31st 2021 but the scheme has caused a huge surge in the housing market.
“This is not a finger-pointing exercise, that would be unfair and unwarranted whilst we are in these uncharted waters.
“Conveyancers, surveyors, local authorities and others are all finding it difficult to work efficiently 100 per cent of the time. However, the role of the lender, in issuing offers, processing requests for redemption statements and releasing mortgage funds is vital.”
Conveyancers took to LinkedIn to air their struggles in the last few days with one particular lender, HSBC, one conveyancer said:
“We have all been struggling to get through to them on the phone let us know if [they] get any better!”
Another conveyancer commented:
“Didn’t release our funds today…. Phone calls cutting off, hours of waiting times. Awful.”
In the Bank of England’s Money and Credit report, it was revealed that mortgage approvals were at their highest levels in over a decade, detailing that mortgage approvals are at a 13-year high, with an additional £4.3bn secured borrowing in October.
This month, Today’s Conveyancer reported on how lenders were resourcing up for the current mortgage volumes – with the end of the first lockdown seeing a surge in home buying and demand for mortgages. Most staff in lending firms are working from home, apart from the branches, and have been working hard to keep up with the volume of business.
A HSBC UK spokesperson commented on conveyancers struggling to get through to use their services. They said:
“The mortgage market is very buoyant at this time and we are seeing high demand for our mortgages. We are aware that this has caused some service pressures, particularly on our Help Desk for solicitors, and while we have thousands of COTs completing every day without issue, we are continuing to work hard to put measures in place to meet that demand. We are seeing call wait times are falling as a consequence, but we apologise to those who have experienced delays. We have introduced an email acknowledgement on submission of Certificate of Title and also when funds are released, reducing the need for solicitors to ring us and to also provide confidence that the matter will complete.
Recognising that this is a busy time, we would appreciate the support from conveyancers in ensuring they give us 6 days’ notice for release of funds.”
Lloyd Davies, MD of Convey365 comments on transaction hold-ups. He said:
“The conveyancing market is incredibly busy at the moment leading into Christmas and there is enormous pressure on all aspects of the conveyancing process and, in particular, lenders are struggling to keep pace with the demands. Conveyancers, more often than not, will not exchange contracts until they are sure that funds will be received from the lender. Conveyancers are often having to spend hours holding on the telephone to lenders to ensure funds are going to be received or redemption statements are reconfirmed.
“Moving forward, lenders need to be using portals to receive and confirm funds requests and to deal with queries. Having to fax or deal with lenders over the phone is archaic in this day and age, especially when these online portal facilities are already available to the lending community.
“The most organised conveyancers are now using the CA ‘Code for Completion’ which allows for an easier moving day experience for clients, with funds being transferred to the conveyancer on the other side the day before completion and being held to order. The clients are then able to move as they would like to on the day of completion, without waiting on funds being received by the other side.
“The current situation will only get worse leading up to the 31st March and the end of the present SDLT holiday. All industry stakeholders are campaigning for an extension to take the heat out of the market, failing which thousands of transactions are likely to miss the deadline due to the current backlog and delays. We also need a buoyant housing market come the spring to restart the economy and the SDLT holiday has certainly moved the property market forward in recent months, with record volumes of property transactions.”
Lloyd Davies, Managing Director of Convey365 and Convey Law sets realistic expectations with Customers in regards to the Stamp Duty Tax Holiday, while working with key industry stakeholders to put pressure on the Government to extend the Stamp Duty deadline.
Today’s Conveyancer Reports:
With less than 20 weeks to go until the end of the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) holiday, and with the run-up to Christmas holiday season slowing transactions down, conveyancers are faced with disruptions in the process and managing clients’ expectations.
Recently, Gavin Brazag, founder of The Advisory, a property consultancy firm, believes around 30% of buyers are going to be unable to complete in time to make the most of the holiday. He said:
“Because it takes roughly 21 weeks for house sales in hot markets to find a buyer, accept an offer and complete the legal process, only house sellers that are already on the market – or lucky enough to be in an area where houses are likely to sell fast – will be able to secure a buyer and get their deal over the line before the deadline.
“Everyone else will no doubt face last minute chain collapses as buyers pull out of the deal or try to renegotiate their purchase price downwards.”
At the end of last month, the property industry wrote an open letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, imploring him to extend the holiday to help the property market which was previously stifled due to the first UK national lockdown at the beginning of March 2020.
With conveyancers already enduring an unprecedented busy time and the tricky situation of managing client expectations as the deadline looms closer, Today’s Conveyancer asked experts in the industry if they were setting expectations for their clients and asked what they have been telling them in terms of the SDLT deadline.
Pam Sams, partner at Dutton Gregory Solicitors comments. He said:
“We are finding certain Estate Agents in particular talking up the end of the SDLT holiday saying they have to do everything urgently now. We are still several months away from the same coming to an end. Clients always ask how quick can things be done and I always say my record from start to finish is 6 hours but longest was 30 months. Both had very specific facts attached to them as like every human being or creature on this planet each transaction is unique.
A clam head in these turbulent times is needed. Explaining to clients that if they can get their seller or buyer to be ready and have their funds in place everything should go as smoothly as it can. There is no point causing more hysteria than already exists in the market place.
A number of firms I have spoken to recently are refusing to take on new work which results in those who are, such as mine having to price services accordingly to the market in which we are in. Those firms refusing work are unlikely to be remembered favourably by introducers when they need work, and believe as sure as night follows day there will be a day when they need work.
“Explaining to clients that if they want to purchase not to wait with returning their instructions and ID is key. The number of people who still want to wait until their mortgage offer is issued never ceases to amaze me. It causes delay and they get frustrated as generally they cannot see they have caused the same. Keep calm and carry on conveyancing is the only way.”
John Jones, head of conveyancing at BBH Legal Services Limited further comments. He said:
“I attach our COVID19 Transaction Statement. That Statement and below are the messages we are giving to our clients:
“We draw your attention to our ‘BBH COVID19 Transaction Statement’ dated 1st September 2020. In that Statement we make it clear that Transactions are taking longer than normal. This is due to matters outside the control of BBH and directly linked to the impact COVID19 is having on the property market. As a result BBH is unable to guarantee a specific timescale or meet a specific deadline in relation to individual transactions.
In particular, there is no guarantee that a desired completion date required by you either before Christmas 2020 or before the expiry of the SDLT ‘holiday’ (31st March 2021) can be achieved. BBH will work with you to achieve a successful outcome for your transaction but we ask that you plan appropriately, given the nature of the market at present, and be pragmatic about the date you wish to complete upon. BBH will inform you whether your desired completion date is realistic or not.”
Sarah Dwight, conveyancing solicitor also commented, she said:
“Managing clients’ expectations is vital and whereas I would ordinarily be asking them at this time of year whether they wanted to move before Christmas, I am now asking if they are thinking of moving by the 31st March. It sounds ludicrous – but it is important to be sure that the clients understand that there is no magic wand which enables them to move quickly and we are dependent on so many things which are outside of our control. Searches, mortgage offers, chains….. making sure that the client will still want to move if they have to pay the stamp duty is imperative as is making sure that they can afford to move if they have to pay the stamp duty.”
Lloyd Davies, Conveyancing Association Director and Managing Director of Convey Law sets realistic expectations with customers in regards to SDLT, while working with key industry stakeholders to put pressure on the Government to extend the Stamp Duty deadline. The email reads:
“We would like to reassure all our clients that in line with the latest government announcements, moving house in Wales or England is still allowed under the government guidelines – which state that you can move house if it is necessary and safe for you to do so. Industry guidance on how to move home safely can be found here. Thank you for your patience during this unprecedented time. Download the Safe Home Moving Guide here.
Additional information on the Welsh lockdown can be found here.
Additional information on the Covid restrictions in place in your area can be found here.
We aim to provide business as usual for all clients, with our team either working from home or in the office. Our offices remain closed to the general public at this time.
Please note that conveyancing timelines have increased across the industry due to the previous lockdown provisions and the resulting backlog of transactions, as well as the significant increase in the volume of transactions. Many property stakeholders, such as Search providers and Mortgage Lenders, as well as Conveyancers, are struggling with the number of transactions they are having to deal with at this time. As a result this may increase your transaction timelines, however we will do our utmost to process your transaction as quickly as possible. Please be patient if we need to manage third party situations which are out of our immediate control.
Many of our clients will be looking to move house before Christmas this year. Our dedicated team will do our utmost to help you move to your transaction deadlines. We will be projecting which transactions will complete in time for Christmas at the start of November. Our priority will be to move families and clients into their new homes ready for the festive season.
Stamp Duty Holiday
You will be aware that the Stamp Duty holiday comes to an end on the 31st March 2021. While we will endeavour to complete all required transactions before the deadline, we cannot provide any guarantees as to completion timelines. We are currently working with key industry stakeholders to put pressure on the Government to extend the Stamp Duty deadline.
Thank you for your support and patience during these difficult times.”
Nicola Lebish, Senior Associate and Head of Enfranchisement in the residential department at Birketts LLP further added:
“Along with other residential property practices, we have seen a remarkable increase in instructions since the end of the first lockdown and the Government announced the SDLT holiday.
“Birketts is open over the Christmas period; however, the majority of conveyancing firms will close, as will some search providers and local authorities, and with HMRC and HMLR running at reduced capacity, Christmas is (as ever) likely to be a time when conveyancing transactions cannot be progressed in a meaningful way.
“Across the department we have worked extremely hard to meet our clients’ timescales for completion. With the average transaction taking 16 weeks (and some taking as long as 20 weeks), delays with some local authority searches, delays with valuations for mortgages and with the Christmas season fast approaching, we are now informing clients with new instructions that we may not achieve completion by 31 March 2021. We will, as always, do our utmost to meet our clients’ timescales.
A spokesperson for Jackson Lees talked about how they were setting expectations, they added:
“When the SDLT holiday was announced we made appropriate amendments to our welcome team where fully briefed and our welcome letter to all clients to advise of the provisions, length and limitation of the stamp duty holiday to ensure they had all information available to them.
It is our plan to renew and reaffirm this advice in the new year for any ongoing cases at that time to ensure that we do not fall foul of clients expectations if the current holiday is not extended. This communication is likely to be by way of email to all buyer clients and an updated footer to our emails. Any new cases taken in the new year will be strongly advised that we cannot give any assurances in relation to them being able to complete within the requisite time in order to benefit from the stamp duty holiday”
Jackson Lees have also advised their clients by adding:
“We have been advising them of the scheme and confirming whether they are eligible or not but with the caveat that under the current scheme the transaction must be completed by 31 March 2021.”
Mitesh Lala, residential property solicitor at Higgs & Sons Solicitors said:
“Whatever their circumstances or intentions, managing clients’ expectations underpins our role as conveyancers, but the stamp duty holiday has certainly added a layer of difficulty given the uncertain times we are living in.
“Any transaction can become prone to uncontrollable external factors, but as lawyers we consider it important to ensure that the client is advised of what circumstances might likely prolong the matters. We now make it clear that achieving completion within the stamp duty holiday period is not guaranteed. We would suggest the following may well have an impact:
“The covid-19 pandemic: any changes in the government’s guidelines, whether directly (instructions relating to the property market) or indirectly (guidance relating to health which have a knock-on effect e.g. for clients who might be required to self-isolate) could delay completion past the 31 March “deadline”, with no obvious recourse.
“Lack of responsiveness from sellers, buyers on related sales, search providers, local authorities providing searches, mortgage lenders, surveyors etc – they all play a part in the process but can add to unforeseen delays.
“Changes in bank’s lending criteria due to the pandemic
“Changes in the sellers’/buyers’ circumstances (unemployment/furlough/impact on borrowing) leading to them withdrawing at short notice.
“Clearly, considering the risks, there is every chance a purchase might collapse or be delayed through no fault of the buyer client or their legal representatives. It is important that clients are being advised of this at the outset and are budgeting and prepared for a situation where completion does not take place before 31 March 2021 so to qualify. However, like many other schemes rolled out by the Government, there is a strong chance it will be extended to further stimulate the economy but that should not be relied up. We will watch with interest.”
Lloyd Davies, Managing Director of Convey365 and Convey Law explains why extending the Stamp Duty Tax Holiday would benefit those working in the property industry and those in the process of buying property.
BBC News reports:
Solicitors ask local authorities to carry out the searches on issues including planning and traffic.
Telor Dyer, a residential conveyancer in Carmarthenshire, said waiting times in some parts of Wales had doubled to 30 working days.
Pembrokeshire council said it had a backlog after the lockdown in March.
The Conveyancing Association warned the backlog facing local authorities was “becoming a significant issue”.
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Local authority searches show details about a property such as whether it is a listed building or in a conservation area. These details can have an effect on future planning works to the property.
Not a ‘unique issue’
Pembrokeshire council, one of the local authorities facing difficulties, said it would not be processing any new searches “other than those deemed urgent” due to its backlog.
Issues, the council said, included the inability to access County Hall, where searches have to be checked against maps stored there, followed by the unprecedented demand in property sales since the lifting of restrictions.
But a council spokesperson said this was “not an issue unique to Pembrokeshire – many other local authorities are working to a 40-day turn around”.
The spokesperson said their usual turnaround for searches was seven to 10 days, but due to the pressures on the service, they have implemented an average 20-day turnaround to work through the backlog.
“The matter is being kept under constant review.”
Residential conveyancer Mr Dyer, based in St Clears, said he had seen significant delays and that they were down to a property boom and staff shortages.
“Usually, we anticipate, searches would take 10 to 15 working days, but now it’s taking 30 working days.”
“There’s nothing we can do speed things up. We have had sellers pull out and there’s nothing we can do about it.”
Rebecca Goldsworthy, director and head of residential property in south-east Wales for JCP Solicitors, said local searches were an important part of the buying process.
“There’s nothing we can do about that other than advise our clients there is a bit of a wait. We are concerned another lockdown period will cause further delay,”
“A delay with searches will hold up the chains.”
Stamp Duty Tax Holiday
Meanwhile, the Conveyancing Association has called on the government to extend the Stamp Duty Tax Holiday (SDTH) which currently ends in March 2021 in light of these delays.
In Wales, the SDTH has meant the starting threshold for land transaction tax has increased from £180,000 to £250,000 for the residential main rates until 31 March 2021.
Lloyd Davies, operations director of the Conveyancing Association, said their member firms, who undertake about 30% of all property transactions in England and Wales, were in a similar position and were 130% to 150% over capacity at the moment.
“We are calling upon the government to relieve the pressure by extending the Stamp Duty Land Tax holiday until 2022 as a minimum – otherwise there will be a very large number of disappointed people and aborted transactions that will not meet this current deadline.”
The Welsh Government said the temporary changes to land transaction tax were specific time-limited measures intended to support the housing market and broader economy in Wales during the remainder of this financial year but were kept under regular review.
Today’s Conveyancer approached one of the largest specialist legal conveyancing companies in the UK to ask about their experiences of the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) holiday and their view on the approach the government should take.
Lloyd Davies, founder and Managing Director of residential conveyancing specialists Convey Law and Managing Director of Convey365 believes the current SDLT holiday was not necessary and it would be a ‘sensible approach’ for the Government to extend the SDLT holiday. He said:
“The majority of the conveyancers I have spoken to, which represents a cross section of large and small, high street and online conveyancers, are all reporting record numbers of instructions since the start of July. The general consensus is that conveyancers are 130 – 150% over capacity, which will lead to significant service and delivery issues later this year, leading into Christmas and definitely leading into the SDLT deadline of 31st March 2021.
“Most Conveyancers are actively recruiting – from the same pool of professionals – with little movement at the moment, as Conveyancers are contemplating jumping ship at these uncertain times – unconvinced that the grass will be greener elsewhere. The deciding factor will be the amount of work and capacity – number of transactions – and the support they will receive at any new legal practice, as much as financial packages.
“The government will need to extend the SDLT holiday and I would propose for at least a further 12 months. The UK economy is dependent on a healthy property market, with residential property prices increasing. When property prices decrease, we go into recession, which the government will want to avoid at all costs this spring. With demand over supply, as with our current situation, house prices will continue to increase gradually into the new year if the SDLT holiday is extended. To end the SDLT holiday in March will lead to a huge number of clients not being able to take advantage of the holiday – with conveyancers, search providers, local authorities and mortgage lenders not being able to meet the increased artificial completion demand and deadline.
“The virus is not going anywhere for some time and the government need to look longer term, both in terms of protecting businesses and individuals with furlough and similar schemes. Brexit is looming and the UK government will not want the economy to falter. At the moment there appears to be an exodus out of the cities and into the country and coastal areas, with individuals realising the benefit of the IT revolution that has come about as a result of Covid19 and their ability to work from home for the most part.
“I do not believe that we needed an SDLT holiday when it was announced, with backed up transactions and instructions we did not need to experience further volume and disruption. The sensible approach for the government will be to prolong the SDLT holiday – indefinitely if possible – to allow property prices to increase gradually and to avoid the boom and bust situation that appears imminent in the spring as things stand.
On Thursday 5th March the Convey365 and Convey Law team attended Cardiff City hall as award finalists for the Chamber of Commerce Welsh Business Awards 2020, hosted by Welsh television presenter Gethin Jones.
From over a hundred applications, forty-seven companies were shortlisted for awards, with the event hosting more than three hundred and eighty attendees.
Convey Law and the Convey365 team were proud award finalists, leading the way with a total of three prestigious award nominations in the categories of Workplace Wellbeing, Customer Commitment and Employer of the Year.
Heather Myers, CEO of South Wales Chamber of Commerce stated, “These awards showcase the best of Wales, across all sizes of business and all sectors”. Gethin Jones backed Heather stating “Tonight we showcase the very best of the very best.”
Finalists for the Wellbeing in the Workplace award included Bright Link Learn, Retreats Group LTD and Convey Law.
Deloitte’s ‘January 2020 Mental Health and Employers’ report states “the annual cost of mental health issues to Welsh employers is £1,557 per worker, with the total cost to UK businesses rising to £45bn. This amounts to an increase of 16% since 2016, or an extra £6bn a year. For employers in Wales, this research reveals that the annual cost of a worker leaving their job for mental health reasons is £212 per employee.”
Event sponsor CGI who presented the award stated “It is clear that wellbeing is at the heart of organisational culture at this business, which has had a quantifiable impact on organisational performance”.
The Convey Law and Convey365 team were incredibly proud to win the Workplace Wellbeing Award. Convey365 Managing Director Lloyd Davies stated “Of all of the awards, this is the one that we wanted to win more than any other.”
Mental health awareness and support have always been a key focus for Convey Law and Convey365, particularly following the tragic passing of Lloyd’s son Max Davies, in August 2018. The Mindstep charity foundation was set up in 2018 by Lloyd and his family to support mental health research, awareness and support.
The Convey365 team believe that winning this award supports the direction they are passionately taking the business and would like to encourage other businesses to implement similar policies.
Key award-winning wellbeing policies include:
Kelly Leworthy Sales Manager at Convey365 stated “Implementing these policies has created a culture where employees are invested in the business and nearly always want to go the extra mile. Employee sickness and absence has reduced by 20% since 2018 and 2019 saw the fewest employees on long term sick.”
Lloyd stated “We feel incredibly honoured to have achieved this award as a symbol of our commitment to staff. We would like to share our knowledge with other businesses to help improve mental health in Wales and the UK.”
Conveyancing specialists, Convey Law and Convey365 were proudly awarded the prestigious gold National Client Service Award at the first ever ESTAS Conveyancing Awards this week.
The ESTAS are the UK’s largest independent customer service feedback and awards scheme for the property industry. They recognise the very best in the industry and award applicants based on actual reviews from genuine clients.
The Convey team achieved an average client rating of 97.6%. To put this in perspective, that means receiving on average 9.76 out of 10 from every client!
The ratings are provided by customers including vendors (sellers), home buyers, tenants, landlords, clients of conveyancers and mortgage brokers when completing an online survey.
The winners were announced by Phil Spencer, the TV property expert at a glamorous dinner & ceremony at the Grosvenor House on Park Lane in London. The event was attended by 400 of the UK’s top property lawyers.
Spencer, who has hosted the ESTAS every year since their inception in 2003 addressed the audience:
“The ESTAS are special awards, because shortlisted and winning firms are selected purely on the service you deliver to your clients, real feedback from real customers experiencing real service. I don’t think there can be a greater honour in the industry than to receive an award based on that mantra.”
Managing Director of Convey365 Lloyd Davies commented: “At Convey365 we are very proud of the level of service we provide, and it is always our top priority. To receive recognition from our clients through this award, is very special and is a huge compliment for the hard work our members of staff undertake on a daily basis.”
The Newport-based specialist legal conveyancing companies were crowned the regional winners in the Commitment to People Development heats of the Chamber Business Awards 2016, as well as being named ‘Winner of Winners’ at the same event.
Convey Law and Convey365 will now represent the Welsh region in the national final, the British Chamber of Commerce Awards, which take place in London on November 24.
The Convey team employ 80 members of staff in Wales and over the past three years, the business has earned record profits, with the £5 million turnover achieved in 2015 seen as a direct result of the focus on team development.
Judges at the Welsh Business Awards were impressed by the innovative approach to business and dedication to staff training, giving room for employees, such as paralegals, to progress into fully qualified conveyancers.
Convey Law and Convey365 have led the way in training and development for the conveyancing industry; founding the Conveyancing Academy on behalf of the Conveyancing Association, which is made up of the top 100 conveyancing lawyers in the country, to facilitate their recruitment and training needs.
The Conveyancing Academy Paralegal Course was developed as part of the induction process for administrative and paralegal employees, allowing staff to be trained quickly, thoroughly and cost-effectively.
The Conveyancing Academy is a division of Convey Law’s sister company, Convey365 Ltd, and provides the first online training portal in the conveyancing industry.
The online training programme is designed to provide basic knowledge of the law and the procedures required to complete a straightforward conveyancing transaction.
Convey Law and Convey365 have also developed the charitable arm of the entire conveyancing industry with the launch of the Conveyancing Foundation, inspired by Convey Law’s original fundraising idea, the Free Legal Fee Competition. The Conveyancing Foundation has raised more than £400,000 for a variety of UK charities since it launched in 2011.
Lloyd Davies, Managing Director of Convey365 said “We have a progressive environment here at Convey365 and Convey Law, providing clear guidelines for career and salary development. Our staff tell us they enjoy working for a company with a strong commitment to charitable fundraising and we encourage staff to become involved in fundraising activities as well as choosing a charity annually.”
Francis Martin, President of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said:
“Businesses are the driving force of the UK economy. Their creativity, hard work and acumen are what make us one of the world’s strongest and most resilient economies, and they deserve recognition for the crucial role that they play.
“Our judging teams across the country are consistently impressed by the number of high-calibre entrants in the awards, and this year’s competitors are no different.
“The Chamber Business Awards are the perfect opportunity for us to celebrate our business community’s achievements, to take stock of the outstanding performances of UK businesses over the past year, and to encourage and inspire others to follow in their footsteps.”
At this year’s Institute of Directors (IoD) awards, the accolade for leadership in corporate responsibility went to Lloyd Davies, Managing Director of Convey Law and Convey365.
The award recognises those Directors able to demonstrate that, through their direct actions and leadership, their business has made a positive impact on the local community, wider society and the environment.
Ten years after establishing Newport-based Convey Law and Convey365 Mr Davies was adding another honour to the growing list of the firm’s achievements, which include the best conveyancing company in England and Wales at the 2014 Times and Sunday Times Estate Agency awards, best large conveyancing provider, the best overall UK conveyancing provider and best direct conveyancer 2014 at the LSF Conveyancing Awards.
What, then, sets you apart from other law firms? The answer, Mr Davies asserts, lies in the way the firm works with its clients.
Reviewing the firm’s role as a conveyancing specialist regulated by the Council for Licenced Conveyancers, Mr Davies said: “We became an alternative business structure which allowed us to gain outward investment in 2013. This followed a rigorous process conducted by the council which helped us formulate the way we run our business.
Eight years ago Convey Law adopted a new way of conveyancing property which Mr Davies refers to as “revolutionary conveyancing”.
Explaining the term he said: “We undertake volume conveyancing work and are in the top 50 conveyancers in the country in terms of the number of transactions we process. What we always try to do is provide a first-class client service which lies at the heart of our operation.
“To do this you have to provide a personal service so we have tailored the way we operate. This means we have our conveyancers supported by several backroom teams to help them through the process.
“It’s easy to provide staff with too much work, so we measure how much they have so they can perform effectively. To do this we give them the best possible training, which involves employing a trainer to make sure we are deploying training effectively throughout the business.
“Earlier this year we qualified 20 paralegals from our bespoke paralegal course, run in conjunction with the Council for Licensed Conveyancers, and we have qualified eight licensed conveyancers over the last five years.”
“There is a shortage of qualified conveyancers and paralegals and, as we come out of recession, training is critical.”
To emphasise the point he added: “We have been commissioned by Convey 365 to pull together a paralegal training course, an online function that can be deployed within different legal practices to measure the effectiveness of their staff.
“This means they read the material, look at the course structure and then answer test questions online.”
The word revolutionary occurs again, when he adds: “It is in fact quite revolutionary – something that’s been lacking in the industry. So proper and effective training will play a big part in our world over the coming years and into the future.”
Of this brave new world of legal conveyancing, he said: “We have some catching up to do, especially in the training sector.
“This is why we are developing this paralegal course, which has to do with client service and interaction with legal procedures.”
“We are always on the lookout for good new recruits who fit in with our ethos. Our training format is taking off and becoming an industry standard as well as the IT systems we employ.”