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Selborne Chambers

This case study may be useful if you are looking for examples of developing a wellbeing policy and increasing awareness of wellbeing.

Selborne canvassed opinions from its members and staff on ways to preserve and promote wellbeing, then drafted and adopted a Wellbeing Policy.

 

What was the business (other case) for action?

Selborne believe that the mental health and wellbeing of both its members and staff is key to promoting a cohesive, productive work place. From the start they included both members and staff to ensure a team approach.

Selborne aim to identify issues at an early stage, think carefully and creatively about how best to address them, and learn from them going forward. To do this they recognised they needed to encourage open discussion over wellbeing from an early stage.

From a business perspective, they felt this had immediate advantages with everyone working towards shared goals.

They recognised creating a successful working environment will – in the long term – also help to attract and retain the best staff and members. They recognised that work at the Bar can be extremely demanding, and wanted to put in place systems that allow people to manage their time and energy effectively, and to work smartly.

 

What did the Chambers do?

Selborne initiated activity with an anonymous survey, circulated around members and staff within Chambers, to canvass opinions on what was working well and what could be improved. By creating an anonymous online survey, they felt that they enabled frank discussion and honest feedback.

They found many members of Chambers and staff felt that Chambers already supported wellbeing. Several new initiatives were also suggested, including organising Chambers events that included both members’ and staff’s families extending Chambers’ social network.

Selborne adapted the Chancery Bar Association Wellbeing Policy to better suit Chambers. They felt it was a thorough and comprehensive policy that encapsulated their goals, and the adaptations ensured that it was relevant and focused on Chambers’ aims. The Board reviewed this, and adopted it within Chambers.

As well as adopting a Wellbeing Policy, they have nominated two representatives to take the lead on wellbeing in Chambers. By appointing individuals, they hope to ensure they dedicate sufficient attention to building on work on this agenda.

 

Within Chambers they have shared events and online resources that people can use to explore what ‘wellbeing’ activity works for them. Selborne recognise that wellbeing is not ‘one size fits all’ and want to encourage on-going feedback and new ideas, which will help them to learn and adapt their approach.

Selborne plan to host events in the coming year that will support staff and Members, both socially and professionally. They believe that they already provide a good social network upon which they can build, and are now thinking more about how to include all of Chambers in their events.

What were the results?

By opening up the topic for discussion, members and staff at all levels have engaged meaningfully with their personal wellbeing and with the shared goal of open discussion. Barristers have discussed with clerks’ ways of managing their own time and how best to work together to ensure that work is handled efficiently and effectively.

“Selborne Chambers recognise the importance of wellbeing and have taken a considered approach to their work on this agenda – clearly taking the time to survey of members and staff, to develop their policy and put dedicated leadership in place. We were particularly pleased to see that they understand that different members and staff will need different types support and propose to keep adapting their approach based on feedback from members and staff. Helpful tips for others too! “

Wellbeing at the Bar Working Group

Tips

  • Anonymous feedback works well – particularly in the initial stages, as it encourages people to talk openly about a topic about which some may still feel uncomfortable.
  • Include both Members and staff in all stages, as the ‘buy in’ encourages all to take interest and participate in the process.
  • There are a wide range of example wellbeing policies for Chambers online – so review others’ policies to see what might work for you.

 

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.


Get in touch Policy & practice

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