BSB launches new chambers’ supervision strategy
The Bar Standards Board has announced that as from January 2014, all chambers will be required to participate in new supervision arrangements.Under the new scheme, the BSB will assess how effectively chambers and sole practitioners are managing potential risks such as ineffective governance and inadequate pupillage training.
Those identified as ‘high risk’ will be supported by the BSB to reduce the likelihood of serious problems occurring. Well-run chambers, which set out and comply with clear policies on matters such as complaints handling and pupillage training, will gain a low risk rating and will have little contact with the BSB. This means that resources will be concentrated on those who need it most with those chambers that are seen to be managing risks less effectively receiving more supervisory support.
The Bar Standards Board’s Head of Quality, Oliver Hanmer, said:
“We all know that prevention is better than cure. This new approach is about smarter regulation for the Bar and better protection for the public. Working with us to prevent potential risks materialising will mean minimising the amount of supervision chambers receive, and a more targeted use of resources on our part.”
The risks that chambers and individuals will be assessed against include
- Ineffective or dishonest governance
- Provision of a poor service to clients
- Insufficient consideration of equality and diversity in administration or service delivery
- Inadequate or unfair pupillage or training
- Incompetent or dishonest financial management
For chambers to manage risk effectively and enjoy minimal contact with the BSB, they should:
- Ensure their chambers’ contact details and records with the Bar Council Records department are up-to-date;
- Appoint a member as the chambers’ point of contact with the regulator;
- Respond promptly in returning the Impact Audit and Supervision Return;
- Be honest and open in recognising and managing potential risks; and
- Be aware of risks and take appropriate measures to reduce the likelihood of risks materialising.
Further details can be found on Bar Standards Board web site.