26 February 2013

‘Risk-Assessed' supervision consultation launched

Sets of chambers and barristers have the opportunity to influence how they are supervised by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) by taking part in a consultation exercise launched today.  

The BSB is seeking feedback on a new approach that is designed to target resources at chambers and entities that are most likely to breach the Code of Conduct.

Under the proposal, the Bar Standards Board would inform chambers that are identified as higher risk and signpost available support. Risk would be evaluated by taking into account matters like disciplinary history but also good practice measures that reduce the likelihood of non-compliance.

The BSB intends to develop supervision as a credible and proportionate alternative to enforcement action when breaches do occur. This would mean that enforcement is reserved for the most serious or persistent cases of non-compliance.

In particular the BSB would like comments on:

  • How the BSB plans to gather evidence to determine which chambers or entities are at risk of breaching the code.
  • What the BSB should look for in terms of good practice measures that make non-compliance less likely.
  • When and how supervision should be used as an alternative to enforcement action.

BSB Head of Quality Oliver Hanmer said; "Our aim with the new approach to supervision is to develop positive relationships with chambers so we can work together to prevent problems arising. We are keen to collect views. The focus of supervision is on working with the Bar to achieve the common goal of compliance with regulatory requirements without the need to resort to enforcement action. There are strong public interest arguments in favour of this approach."

Take part in the consultation here or email SIssop@barstandardsboard.org.uk