Competency Framework

Victoria Hurdley Blog

This week we are joined by our first guest author, Victoria Hurdley. Victoria is the Director of Operations at CILEX, as well as being an integral part of the team behind the development of the CILEX Professional Qualification. I have asked Victoria to share more detail on the origin of CPQ and how the Competency Framework shapes the qualification, making it so unique. I hope that you enjoy this overview of the CPQ Competency Framework and as always you can find more information on CPQ on the CILEX website.
- Chris Glennie


The CILEX Competency Framework

The CILEX Competency Framework was developed to underpin the new CILEX Professional Qualification (CPQ) and summarises all of the activities, skills and behaviours required by a variety of legal professionals. But what is the competency framework and why did we need to create it? After all, CILEX has an existing range of qualifications and it would have been easy enough to review and update them to reflect recent changes in the legal services market.

The answer to these questions goes to the heart of why CPQ is so unique and provides a real step change in qualifying as an authorised legal professional. CILEX's legacy qualifications have been very successful in helping our members to progress in the legal profession, but when we spoke to employers, we soon realised that what made them valuable and unique was not just those things which were assessed as part of their qualification. Whilst their legal skills and knowledge were of course essential it was the broader range of competencies and behaviours, which made the CILEX legal professionals a distinct and valuable part of the profession. These also happened to be the new competencies that are becoming more important as the legal services operating environment changes.

So we decided the best way to capture this was by developing a CILEX Competency framework. It was developed to capture all of the elements that needed to come together to make a well-rounded and adaptable legal professional, whether you are just starting out as a paralegal or have responsibilities as a CILEX Lawyer.

The framework pillars

The framework has five pillars and covers all roles from support staff, paralegal to CILEX Lawyers, Partners and Directors and has been the basis of the CPQ qualification development process. Here is our Core Principles Model:

Competency Framework

It summarises through a series of clear statements the core behaviours and activities that relate to these roles. As well as focusing on client relationships commercial awareness, technical expertise and legal practice it covers critical thinking, collaboration, and influencing skills.

This has provided a solid base from which the CPQ has been built. We have tested the framework and the professional qualification with employers and members throughout their development to ensure it is relevant whilst remaining aspirational. Of course, it will need to change over time but we intend to review and update it as they do, which will inevitably be faster than ever!

Finally, some of you reading this may be thinking whilst it is interesting to know how CPQ was started, how useful is the framework itself. I would say it is worth taking a look at the detail. Having worked in a number of professional environments with responsibility for a range of functions, I know a competency framework can provide a useful starting point for many things. It can be used to develop organisation structures, define performance frameworks or creating more specific things like person specifications and competency based interview questions.

And the best part is it that the CILEX Competency Framework is published absolutely free on our website so why not take a look and if you do we are sure you will find it useful and as always would welcome any feedback or comments as we work to develop and improve this tool.