27 September 2013

BSB publishes diversity review of complaints processes

An independent review into the barristers' regulator's complaints-handling process has been published today by the Bar Standards Board.

The review, carried out by Inclusive Employers, was commissioned following an internal report that showed that Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) barristers were over-represented in the regulator's complaints process.

The report, Diversity Review: Bar Standards Board's complaints system, found that:

  • the complaints process is clear and balanced, with ample opportunity to seek advice and review decisions; 
  • it is also easily accessible and straightforward;
  • within the Professional Conduct Department (PCD) cases are dealt with carefully, in a way that is transparent, consistent and fair; 
  • equality and Diversity training for committee members is in place (although this does not always occur prior to them joining the committee); and
  • documentation within the case files is extremely detailed and thorough;

While finding that cases are dealt with in a way that is 'transparent, consistent and fair' the report suggested practical steps to improve aspects of existing processes within the PCD and at Committee.

Director of the Bar Standards Board, Dr Vanessa Davies said: "We are very pleased that, as this report shows, the causes of overrepresentation do not lie within our complaints processes. To ensure that our systems are as fair and as robust as possible, we will be acting on the report's recommendations to further improve existing processes including taking further steps to anonymise cases considered by the Professional Conduct Committee. We make certain that all members receive the proper Equality and Diversity training upon joining the Committee."


Notes to editors

The report, Diversity Review: Bar Standards Board's complaints system, can be accessed here.

The report's User Feedback Survey can be accessed here.

The Professional Conduct Committee has the full delegated authority to take decisions on complaints. It has the power to refer complaints to disciplinary action, decide to take no further action or to dismiss a case.

Contact: the Bar Standards Board Press Office on 0207 6111 452.