Regis rolls on as Betts takes reins

The Law Society has agreed to spend up to £2.5m more on the troubled Regis computer project, as well as to appoint a further 61 members of staff.

The allocation of funds for phase four of the Regis project, now called Road (Regis Office Automation Development), was passed with little debate by the society council last Thursday. Members approved immediate funding of £382,000 and handed responsibility for approving further expenditure to the finance committee.

At the same meeting secretary-general Jane Betts defended the recruitment of 61 new members of staff in a debate on key policy areas and the budget.

Betts said that the appointments, most of which are for the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors and enquiry handling, were a necessary addition to make the changes members wanted.

Outlining her plans for “getting a grip on the Law Society” she said she would be introducing performance measures for finance, setting up an internal audit committee and improving the management information system within the society.

“I felt when I arrived that the Law Society was rather like a bolting horse,” said Betts.

“My first task was to calm it down.”

But several council members expressed concern that the policy and finance committee proposals, including a new “top-down” budgetary system, did not allow for any savings to be made.

They expressed sympathy with Robert Sayer's calls for an external review of the financial management of the society.