2016 Business Plan, Budget and Practice Fees
We are consulting on our 2016 Business Plan, Budget and Practice Fees. The Chairman writes to set the context.
The draft 2016 Business Plan incorporates, for the first time, the planned activities within education. To date there has been a separate Education Plan but the Board considered that a single Annual Plan would improve understanding of IPReg’s work in all its areas, particularly now the Licensing Authority Application, which has dominated the business plans for the last two years, has been secured.
The proposed 2016 Budget has a new format.
Earlier this year, the Legal Services Board ran a survey on the costs of regulation. It became apparent that the funding for the Legal Services Board and for the Legal Ombudsman was not fully understood. All legal regulators, including IPReg, pay a levy to the Legal Services Board to fund the operations both of the Legal Services Board and also the Legal Ombudsman. The levy is based on the numbers of regulated persons and is not connected with use. Thus the levy to the Legal Ombudsman does not reflect the “business to business” nature of IP legal services which excludes the vast majority of clients from recourse to the Legal Ombudsman. We have adjusted the budget format to show the payment of the levy more prominently.
We have also included, as part of our 2014 Annual Report, a pie chart depicting the levy “slice”.
The budgeted costs for 2016 is £649,870 (2015 £608,520) plus the levy of £79,000 (unchanged from 2015). The total budget for 2016 is £728,870.
This budget should be read in conjunction with our Reserves.
We have released our “Restructuring Reserve” into the General Contingency Reserve as we were able to grow the office numbers without moving; instead, utilising the meeting room we originally shared with ITMA. The policy is to have a contingency reserve reflecting c6 months of operation but to build up to that figure over time, using where possible any operating surpluses.
For the first time we have removed the “Research and Education” budget line from the annual budget and set up a Research Reserve.
We have now completed our recruitment; having put the recruitment of our last appointees on hold in 2014 due to the delay in Licensing. The office numbers are greater but, because of our policy of including part time officers, the numbers can mask the fact that IPReg is still a very small operation.
Finally the proposed 2016 practice fees are shown against the 2015 fees. The projected practice fee income for 2016 is £729,000.
If you have any comments on the 2016 Business Plan, Budget or Practice Fees please send them to:
by cob Monday 7 September.