This case study may be useful if you are looking for examples of developing a wellbeing policy, increasing awareness of wellbeing, developing resilience training schemes and/or promoting wellbeing initiatives.
What was the ‘business’ (other case) for action?
Large organisations have long recognised the vital importance of wellbeing to the health of their staff and the efficiency of their business, but the Bar has lagged behind. Both barristers and staff in any set of chambers face a range of pressures that can, if left unaddressed, adversely impact on individual’s professional and home lives, in the short and long term.
11KBW saw it as essential to focus on this issue to ensure that short-term coping strategies did not mask problems that, if left unaddressed, risked turning into substantial difficulties that would be considerably harder to resolve and which had the potential to overwhelm individuals, cause distress to their families, and disrupt chambers.
What did the Chambers do?
First, they established a specific, standing Wellbeing Committee, comprising a senior and a junior member of chambers, together with a member of staff, to ensure that wellbeing was researched and monitored, and best practice implemented. That committee then compiled comprehensive wellbeing surveys, one for members and one for staff. These were coupled with one to one meetings, where the individuals wished to discuss ideas. Following the completion of these exercises, two Wellbeing Reports were compiled, addressing the issues and proposed solutions raised in the consultation, and making a series of recommendations for future action.
This has led to a detailed action plan, approved at the highest level and being implemented under the ongoing supervision of the Wellbeing Committee.
What were the results?
The recommendations cover a very wide range of actions, such as:
• IT developments (including to reduce and streamline email traffic (not least out of hours for staff) and training
• mental health first aid training
• wider mentoring, assisted by training
• increased and different social events
• easy access to information on a range of services to help with working practices and physical and mental health
• introduction of wellbeing as an aspect of practice reviews (regular clerk/barrister discussions)
Undoubtedly, however, the key benefit has been an increased awareness and openness about the impact of the pressures faced in our working lives.
“11KBW has taken a clear and considered approach to wellbeing with an evidence based strategy, clear governance arrangements and an impressive array of well thought out initiatives.”
Wellbeing at the Bar Working Group
The information and resource packs on this website are designed to help you and your colleagues to work as a community for better wellbeing and professional resilience. If you want to provide feedback on these resources, or to get involved in promoting wellbeing please get in touch.
It can be difficult to make a living from law and it can be pressurised and demanding. Competition and an adversarial approach to everything can make collegiate relationships difficult. This website aims to provide you with the knowledge to manage these stressors, make emotionally informed, wise professional decisions and thrive in your chosen profession.
A simple expression that sums up wellbeing is ‘travelling well’
Psychological wellbeing within the profession is rarely spoken about