15 December 2018

High levels of compliance amongst barristers with new CPD scheme

23 November 2018

Following the introduction in 2017 of a new Continuing Professional Development (CPD) scheme for barristers of more than three years' standing, most of those who were assessed by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) were found to have successfully complied with the requirements.

Just under 90% of those who were spot checked by the regulator were considered compliant, or compliant with some feedback from the BSB, after they were asked to submit their CPD records for 2017 for assessment.

The new scheme, which replaced the more prescriptive earlier scheme, required barristers to:

  • prepare a written CPD plan setting out their learning objectives and the activities they proposed to undertake during the year;
  • keep a written record of the CPD activities undertaken over the previous three years including their reflection on the CPD they have undertaken, any variation in their plans and an assessment of their future learning objectives;
  • reflect on their planned and completed CPD activities to assess whether they had met their objectives; and
  • declare to the Bar Standards Board in 2018 that they had completed their CPD for 2017. This was done as part of the annual authorisation to practise process, when practising certificates are renewed.

The spot checking of 2017 CPD records revealed some areas for development for the Bar in general, including recording learning objectives and reflecting on how they had been met.

The BSB will be working in the coming months to raise awareness of the scheme further and to continue to support barristers to fulfil their CPD obligations. A period of further research and evaluation of the impact of the new scheme will be carried out by the regulator. Maintaining an effective CPD scheme is one of the ways in which the BSB assures itself of the competence of the Bar.

BSB Director of Regulatory Assurance, Oliver Hanmer, said: "The profession has made a good start in the way it has engaged with the new approach to CPD, with most of those selected being assessed as compliant against the requirements. We will be working to raise awareness of the CPD requirements and to clarify what is expected, particularly in the critical area of reflection as this is key to the 'continuous' part of CPD. We are keen to work also with the Bar Council and specialist Bar associations to support the profession in continuing to take responsibility for its professional standards and competence."

A copy of the BSB's 2017 CPD monitoring report is available here.

ENDS

Notes to editors

About the Bar Standards Board

Our mission is to regulate barristers and specialised legal services businesses in England and Wales in the public interest. For more information about what we do visit: http://bit.ly/1gwui8t.

About the CPD scheme for established barristers

More information about the CPD scheme for Established Practitioners is available here on our website.

For all media enquiries call: 0207 611 1452 or email press@barstandardsboard.org.uk