Compulsory monitoring prompts Bar Council support for chambers

23 March 2016

The Bar Council has rolled out a compendium of FAQs specifically to help chambers complete compulsory monitoring and reporting on the profile of barristers and staff. The move comes after the Bar Council's Equality & Diversity Helpline received a number of calls with queries from chambers about the process, which must take place at least every three years. 

With many of the calls querying issues relating to anonymity, consent and data publishing, as well as difficulties in interpreting the regulator's (Bar Standards Board) rules on monitoring, the Bar Council, the representative body for barristers in England & Wales, has turned to its Equality, Diversity & Social Mobility Committee to help it provide vital support for chambers during the monitoring period. 

Chairman of the Bar, Chantal-Aimée Doerries QC, said: "Encouraging chambers to consider their profile is important and we must do all we can to make it as easy as possible to monitor and report on diversity, or it risks becoming a pointless exercise that chambers lose enthusiasm for. Monitoring gives the whole profession a clearer view of what the Bar and chambers look like. The Bar Council hopes that these monitoring support materials help barristers and chambers with this process." 

The monitoring support document tackles frequently asked questions and suggests tips to improve both the process and disclosure rates in chambers. 

FAQs in the document include: 

  • If I am undertaking an anonymous workforce monitoring exercise how do I resolve the issue of consent? 

  • I don't understand the consent rules which state 'the published summary of anonymised data shall: (i) exclude diversity data relating to the characteristics of sexual orientation and religion or belief, unless there is consent from each of the members of the workforce. Does this mean I can only publish data on sexual orientation and religion and belief if everyone in chambers has given consent? Or does it mean I can only publish the data of those who have provided consent? 

  • How can I reassure participants over data protection, anonymity etc? 

These document also provides specific tips on topics such as monitoring questions, data security and how to improve response rates. It also includes scenarios for chambers to identify potential pit falls during the process. 

Read the full support document here

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Notes to editors

Further information is available from the Bar Council Press Office on 020 7222 2525 and  Press@BarCouncil.org.uk.

The Bar Council represents barristers in England and Wales. It promotes: 

  • The Bar's high quality specialist advocacy and advisory services
  • Fair access to justice for all
  • The highest standards of ethics, equality and diversity across the profession, and
  • The development of business opportunities for barristers at home and abroad.

The General Council of the Bar is the Approved Regulator of the Bar of England and Wales. It discharges its regulatory functions through the independent Bar Standards Board