Five years into the Wellbeing at the Bar programme, efforts to support barristers’ and employees’ wellbeing through the Pandemic and beyond have highlighted just how far we have come. The place of ‘Wellbeing’ in our work culture and our understanding of it has also changed. It is, rightly, no longer seen as a luxury but instead an essential element in any modern workplace and thus in our standing as a profession.
Changing attitudes at the Bar and in society as well as scientific research and our own day to day experience indicate that good workplace behaviours (not just the absence of poor ones) as well as thoughtful and deliberate career and practice support not only enhance work satisfaction and mental health but also drive diversity and retention.
A healthy and diverse Bar leads to better outcomes for our clients and increased public confidence, not least among those whom we hope to attract into the profession at the pupillage stage and who will become our future. That is, for me, why Wellbeing matters, and why I believe we must look to create dynamic systems within our organisations to protect and promote it. We must, too, provide transparency about how we implement the values and standards we espouse.
About the Certificate of Recognition programme
The purpose of the Certificate of Recognition scheme was always to acknowledge the huge efforts made across the profession to support the wellbeing of barristers, clerks and chambers’ staff.
Chambers and organisations are awarded a certificate if they can demonstrate a genuine commitment to improving the welfare of those in our profession.
We are now re-launching the scheme to mark the progress made over the last five years, as well as to meet new challenges ahead.
Our 2021 wellbeing research revealed Barristers are under increased pressure to meet unsustainable demands, so we have included practice management in the new scheme. Focus groups from our ‘Kindness Project’ collaboration with the University of Sussex highlighted the importance of leadership in promoting positive workplace behaviours, and especially in supporting juniors, so we ask organisations to identify how this will be provided. We have also embedded mentoring in the new criteria for obtaining a certificate.
Promoting Wellbeing should not become a burden in itself. We recognise that administrative resources differ between organisations as do their circumstances and Certificate assessment will reflect this. There is no ‘model’ application, nor a set way in which evidence may be provided: we want you to be successful and will assist where we can. My hope is that more Chambers than ever will choose to apply for the new Certificates, showcasing the many creative initiatives already in place and affirming our commitment as a profession to creating a culture in which all can thrive. I look forward to sharing the results.
How to Apply for a Wellbeing Certificate of Recognition
- For Chambers renewing their certificate, please find the re-application form here.
- For new applicants forms can be found here.
- For application guidance please see document here.
- For further assistance, please contact email@example.com
Chair of the Wellbeing at the Bar Working Group and barrister at Furnival Chambers