This case study may be useful if you are looking for examples of developing a wellbeing policy.
Serle Court has recently introduced a Health & Wellbeing Policy and is repositioning a number of wellbeing related initiatives implemented over the last few years under its ‘wellbeing’ strategy.
Serle Court recognises the importance of providing a positive and supportive working environment for barristers and staff and has done so for several years. As Chambers grew they acknowledged the importance of maintaining their collegiate working environment and the need to ensure their policies and practices enable them to do this.
Chambers aims to encourage and facilitate working practices and services that support the health and wellbeing of barristers, pupils and staff.
What was the business (other case) for action?
Chambers believe that healthy and well-motivated barristers and staff members will enhance the productiveness and effectiveness of Chambers.
What did the Chambers do?
Governance: Serle Court has formally established an Equality, Diversity and Wellbeing Committee. This committee’s work is overseen by Chambers’ Management Committee, ensuring it has the widest application across Chambers. The number of E&D Officers has been expanded (from a single E&D officer responsible for overseeing policies and procedures to five E&D officers who collectively form the E&D committee), this provides greater access to individuals who can assist members and staff. We also have a Serle Court member on the Chancery Bar’s E&D Committee.
Serle Court already has a range of policies and practices in place, to promote health and wellbeing. Awareness of these will be enhanced by the formal introduction of the Health and Wellbeing Policy (and associated communications around the new policy which will ensure members and staff are aware of chambers’ approach).
Other chambers’ policies that support wellbeing include:
Members are supported in taking breaks, sabbaticals and in managing their workloads.
Annual Practice Review meetings (PRM) are seen as an important opportunity to assess work life balance and members are encouraged to discuss with clerks, the Chief Executive and the Business Development Manager how they see their next year and how much work they would like to do.
In addition, practical initiatives which support health and wellbeing in Chambers include:
Serle Court are also preparing to launch a second wellbeing survey and to expand their equality, diversity and wellbeing training and information programme.
What were the results?
The effect of initiatives is monitored on an ongoing basis and the latest wellbeing survey is designed to enable members and staff to comment on what chambers has been doing to date; these comments will help shape future initiatives.
Improved awareness of mental wellbeing, through the Health and Wellbeing Policy and existing practices is a positive start to expansion of chambers’ wellbeing programme which they hope will result in continuous improvement of the health and mental wellbeing of barristers, pupils and staff in Chambers.
“Although not initially badged as ‘wellbeing’, Serle Court has for some time focussed on developing and delivering activity in chambers that ensures that chambers’ ethos of friendliness and mutual support is encouraged. Chambers has only recently begun presenting this work as part of a wider wellbeing agenda, putting in place a more formal governance structure and policy to recognise and support earlier work. Plans for an imminent wellbeing survey provide an opportunity to identify gaps and refine their approach further.”
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.
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