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Guidance on how to introduce wellbeing policies and initiatives and on tackling a wellbeing issue in chambers.

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Examples of successful wellbeing initiatives adopted by chambers, Specialist Bar Associations and the Inns of Court.

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6KBW College Hill

6KBW College Hill recognises the importance of ensuring that all barristers, pupils and staff have a safe and supportive working environment in which to work.

What was the ‘business’ (other case) for action?

Following on from the Bar Council’s wellbeing initiative, Chambers recognised the importance of formalising the wellbeing measures that already existed in Chambers in a wellbeing policy, as well as the need to review whether more could be done to ensure that the wellbeing needs of barristers and staff are met.

What did Chambers do?

Governance and Policy

  • 6KBW College Hill established a Wellbeing Committee in 2017. The committee was made up of barristers of different levels of seniority and a representative of the clerking team. The composition of the Committee was designed to ensure that any person within Chambers would feel able to approach a member of the Wellbeing Committee with any issue that they may have.
  • The Wellbeing Committee received mental health training from Wellness for Law UK.
  • The head of the Wellbeing Committee sits on the Chambers management committee and wellbeing is a standing management committee agenda item.
  • The Wellbeing Committee established a Wellbeing Framework and a Wellbeing Policy. The policy has been circulated to all Members of Chambers and staff and is made available to new staff members, pupils and tenants when they first arrive in Chambers.

 

Assistance Programme

  • 6KBW subscribed to the Health Assured’s Employee Assistance Programme directly to ensure that anyone within Chambers who needs advice or support is able to access it.

 

Other:

  • Chambers has also recently updated its policies, including the parenting and equality and diversity policies. There is a protocol in place to ensure that barristers taking parental leave are aware of the parental leave policy and are supported before, during and after their period of leave.
  • 6KBW has taken steps to promote cohesion within Chambers through a weekly ‘Peroni Wednesday’; regular Chambers tea; and evening nights out where Members of Chambers and staff can socialise. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Peroni Wednesdays have continued via Zoom.
  • During the pandemic, the Wellbeing Committee has taken a number of measures to try and ensure that barristers and staff had access to support as well as a means to remain in close contact. This has included: (a) a 6KBW Wellbeing blog; (b) establishing a WhatsApp groups for three barrister call groups, as well as a staff group, to facilitate contact and a means to raise any issues during lockdown; (c) instituting ‘practice reviews’ between each barristers and a designated clerk which enabled barristers to discuss any concern about the impact of the pandemic on their practice.

 

What were the results?

The feedback from within Chambers about the work of the Wellbeing Committee has been extremely positive. While 6KBW has always been an inclusive and supportive environment in which to work, the implementation of formal measures such as a policy and a Wellbeing Committee that reports on a monthly basis to the management committee has increased the awareness at all levels of seniority within Chambers, and amongst staff, of the support that is available. It has also increased the discussion of wellbeing issues, both at management level and throughout Chambers.

‘6KBW have clearly focussed on getting the basics right and should be commended for this. They are building  wellbeing activity on firm foundations – their wellbeing committee is trained with proper governance arrangements feeding into Chambers’ management. It is great to see their commitment extends to ensuring all members and staff have access to support via their own direct arrangements with Health Assured. Efforts too have clearly been made to respond to the ongoing pandemic’. 

Wellbeing at the Bar Working Group

Tips

  • Consult with barristers and staff to understand the wellbeing issues that are relevant to Chambers.

 

  • Try and strike a balance between raising awareness within Chambers of wellbeing issues while avoiding clogging up inboxes with too frequent communication.

 

  • Take time to implement wellbeing policies in a way that is appropriate for your Chambers environment.

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