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Hardwicke

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.

Hardwicke has implemented a ‘Wellbeing for All’ programme, alongside guidance to members and staff available on the intranet. Chambers has also enrolled members and staff in a wellbeing scheme (‘Employee Assistance Programme’.

 

Hardwicke recognise everyone in this line of work (barristers, pupils and chambers’ staff) is regularly exposed to emotionally and psychologically challenging situations. The wellness programme was developed as a response.

 

What was the business (other case) for action?

Hardwicke’s Management Committee are committed to recognising wellbeing challenges and ensuring there is appropriate guidance and support in place for its people. This was highlighted when a member faced challenges and chambers sought to assist.

What did the Chambers do?

Leadership/Management: Wellbeing is discussed openly in Management Committee meetings and in open chambers meetings (the EAP report is referred to alongside other wellbeing issues). Heads of Chambers provide strong positive messages and have been willing to allocate money from the Hardwicke budget to fund initiatives (e.g. the EAP scheme). Wellbeing is looked after by the Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Committee (membership includes 3 members of chambers).

Processes have been put in place to support any barrister with poor wellbeing including support for time off; dealing with clients sensitively, giving appropriate support until a member is ready to return to work. On return, regular meetings to ensure that everything is OK.

Wellbeing Policy: Hardwicke have a wellbeing policy, accessible via their intranet.

EAP: In January 2017, Chambers introduce its EAP after chambers recognised the value of having an independent, confidential professional wellbeing referral service for members/staff.

Wellbeing communications via the Hardwicke Grapevine: wellbeing related updates and events are circulated in a weekly newsletter. Examples of events have included financial wellbeing; motivational talks about making the best use of yourself and resources, how to live life healthily – lighting, planning, noise cancelling headphones etc. Members are invited to suggest event/activity themes.

Other activities:

Hardwicke offer other ways to engage with wellbeing issues, and have set up activities including:

  • lunchtime hula hooping and table tennis; and

the ‘Hardwicke Variety Club’ – a group of people who suggest ideas that are not work related for fun nights out together with friends and families (e.g. walks, talks, karaoke, museums, and so on) – stressing the importance having fun even when in a difficult/stressful working environment.

“Hardwicke Chambers have made great use of an Employee Assistance Programme and it is good to see that they use the anonymous reports generated to inform their strategy and wellbeing programme focus. Chambers has a well-considered and thorough approach to wellbeing.”

Wellbeing at the Bar Working Group

What were the results?

The EAP programme has proved invaluable. Anonymised quarterly reports are received setting out the amount of use the scheme has had, and the broad category of issues (financial, relationship, etc).  This data has been used in its broadest sense to address key issues and to develop other initiatives.

Tips

  • Recognise the value of an EAP and keep recommending/reminding members/staff to use it.
  • An EAP can be retained at a relatively modest cost to chambers and provides immeasurable help and support behind the scenes.

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.


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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