21 September 2019

Sir Andrew’s blog

A few weeks ago we published our 2015/16 Business Plan.

This outlines the key things we will start doing, and have already started doing in this new financial year.

More than that, it sets out the actions we will take as part of our third and final push towards the goals we set for ourselves back in 2013 as part of our current Strategic Plan. Over the coming months we will be mapping out a fresh destination - to be reached in 2019 - and how we plan to get there. I have no doubt we will need your help and so we will be in touch later in the year to share with you some of our ideas.

But for now, I thought it useful to provide a snapshot of just some of the things we will be working on over the coming months.

You can, of course, read the full 2015/16 Business Plan here, if you wish, but I will sketch out some of its highlights below:

  • We want to become a licensing authority for barrister-led businesses with non-lawyers as owners - otherwise known as ABSs. We are now authorising entities and so this will be the latest effort in our endeavours to encourage new business models to emerge and thrive and so increase client choice.
  • Our ambitious programme of reform to legal education and training - Future Bar Training programme - will gather pace over the coming months. We want to make sure regulation does not impede training the next generation of barristers in the best possible way. Thank you to all of you who have been involved so far.
  • We will review the way in which we regulate immigration advice and services. As many of you know, those seeking immigration and asylum advice are often especially vulnerable - particularly now that recent legislative changes are showing their full impact.
  • We will revise our governance structures to ensure we do the job we need to do as efficiently as possible - to make sure the way in which we make decisions does not mean unnecessary complexity, cost, or delay. And we will strive to make our limited resources work most effectively in our efforts to safeguard clients.

But this will also be a year of reflection, as well as reform:

  • We will review our approach to Public Access and the impact of certain aspects of the new Handbook, introduced in January 2014.
  • We will reassess our new enforcement strategy and develop further an authorisation and supervision regime for BSB-regulated entities.
  • We will evaluate the operation of the Bar Course Aptitude Test and re-examine the Academic and Professional Stages of qualifying as a barrister.

Clearly, there is much to do and I am looking forward to leading the BSB through the next phase of our journey.