It's back to work with a bump. The new Equality & Diversity Rules from the Bar Standards Board are now in force. You can ready the announcement from the BSB here, but in essence there are a number of changes and you and your chambers will need to have a new Equality Policy that conforms, and Action Plan, and processes and procedures to made sure that the new rules are being followed.
That all sounds rather simple. It is, however, imperative that every set of chambers has to ensure that their documentation is in order - and, possibly more importantly, that members and staff know about the changes. Members also need to know about their new responsibilities.
Under the old rules, it was the responsibility of the Head of Chambers to ensure that chambers was compliant. It is not the responsibility of every member of chambers. Yes - you heard that correctly. Every member of chambers, from the most junior to the most senior has a personal responsibility to make sure that their chambers understands the new rules and takes them to heart.
Not only do your documents need to be changed and added to - you have to make sure that every member of chambers and staff understand the rules and is able to speak knowledgeably about them. The BSB is likely to audit chambers' compliance by simply asking some question.
Finally - chambers will have to collect and publish statistics about its membership by the end of this year (and every three years thereafter). These statistics must conform to a standard set by the BSB and must be published to chambers' websites.
Now is about the latest point at which chambers should be addressing the changes.
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Mar-aon can help with the development of the documents you now need, with the planning of training, with the design of the questionnaires you need, and with the publication of the data. Just get in touch.