Understanding levels of engagement with new equality rules

The BSB will be conducting an exercise on a representative sample of 40 chambers in February 2013 to understand the level of engagement with the new equality rules of the Code of Conduct and to identify any areas of difficulty in compliance. The exercise will consist of a telephone call from the BSB Equality Team to the chambers concerned during which compliance and engagement with the new equality rules will be discussed. The discussion will give the chambers selected an opportunity to raise any issues or challenges faced during implementation and offer feedback on how these might be resolved. The results of the exercise will feed into a final report which will set out any areas for further BSB guidance or initiatives to support the profession in implementing the rules.

Selected chambers will be notified in late 2012 and will be asked to identify a lead person with whom the telephone appointment will be arranged. Selected chambers will be provided with the questionnaire in advance along with specific details of how the exercise will be undertaken.

The new equality rules of the Code of Conduct came into force on 1 September 2012. The rules place duties on individual self-employed barristers and include requirements to:

  • gather and publish diversity data by 31.12.12;
  • develop reasonable adjustments, flexible working and equality policies;
  • ensure selection panels are trained in fair recruitment and;
  • appoint a chambers’ Equality and Diversity Officer.

Further details on the new rules may be found at http://bit.ly/RgOUBU