The new Equality Strategy sets out four main objectives with several actions arising from those objectives. They follow engagement with stakeholders and a review of relevant research.
The four objectives are to:
- clarify the BSB’s expectations of the Bar concerning equality, diversity and inclusion and to highlight opportunities for change;
- hold the Bar to account for reducing racial and other inequalities across the profession;
- promote a culture of inclusion at the Bar and in legal services more generally; and
- build a diverse and inclusive workforce ensuring that the BSB is itself an example of the approach the BSB is promoting.
Some of the key actions arising from these objectives include:
- reviewing the obligations of barristers and chambers under the Equality Rules in the BSB Handbook
- collaborating with the Bar Council and others to promote greater equality at the Bar
- ensuring that chambers promote inclusion, and strengthening chambers’ governance, including the role of the Equality and Diversity Officer
- continuing to tackle bullying, discrimination and harassment at the Bar and
- reviewing the BSB’s recruitment processes and undertaking research into recruitment at the Bar.
The strategy seeks to promote the regulatory objective of encouraging an independent, strong, diverse and effective legal profession and to satisfy the BSB’s duties under the Equality Act. It also seeks to identify areas where the regulator is best placed to act, and where the BSB should seek to collaborate with the profession and others who share the BSB’s objectives.
The BSB has also published its Research Strategy which will support these and other policy initiatives.
Commenting on the new Strategy, Director General, Mark Neale, said “Our new Equality Strategy shows the BSB’s determination to continue our work towards a fairer and more inclusive profession in the public interest and to work in collaboration with all those who share our objectives”