The basic requirement is that your CP should be able to provide continuity of service at short notice. You will have established this before entering into your CP agreement. However the services you provide can change over time, as can the size of your practice. It is unfair to your CP if they are unaware of the present needs of your clients, especially as they may have to take responsibility for them at short notice.
CIMA recommends that you review your agreement every year. You should also have regular catch-up meetings with your CP about your service offering and any plans to provide new services or increase the size of your practice. This can be as formal as you wish – simply meeting for coffee a few times a year would probably be enough if you also undertake at least one formal review. If you cannot meet your CP, it would be sensible to speak on the telephone on a regular basis and/or remain in regular email contact throughout the year.
You should notify your CP if you plan to take on a significant number of new clients or provide new services, to ensure that they have the capacity to provide continuity of service if needed. You should also check, as far as is possible, the general financial health of your CP’s practice.
The more communication you have with your CP the better. You don’t have to wait for a catch-up or review, an email communication on a new service will suffice. You should also be straightforward and candid during reviews to give your CP the best chance of serving your clients from the start of an event. Although we recognise the difficulty of doing so, we advise that you notify your clients of any serious or terminal illness or any financial difficulties you may be having.
Your conversations with your CP and any disclosures you make should remain confidential (except of course, when you have to tell your interested parties).