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Equality & Diversity

20152013 Clerksroom Equality & Diversity Information.

Introduction to this policy:

Clerksroom undertook a review of this policy on 16th January 2013. The policy was updated to include the most recent changes to the law (Equality Act 2010) and recruitment policy for Barristers and Staff. All advertistments for Barristers and Staff have been reviewed. Clerksroom's nominated Equality & Diversity Officer is Stephen Ward who also undertakes the role of Equality & Diversity Data Collection Manager. The Bar Standards Board provided training on the 16th January 2013.

POLICY:

Clerksroom (Barristers & Staff) do not, discriminate unlawfully against, victimise or harass any other person on the grounds of race, colour, ethnic or national origin, nationality, citizenship, sex, gender re-assignment, sexual orientation, marital or civil partnership status, disability, age, religion or belief or pregnancy and maternity.

DATA:
2013 - Published Data - Click here
2015 - Published Data - Click here
 
Contact: ​Our Equality & Diversity officer is Stephen Ward. 

Our policy applies to the entire organisation. For the avoidance of doubt, this includes:

  • Barrister Members
  • Mediator Members
  • Arbitrator Members
  • Staff
  • Trainees
  • The Board of Directors

Clerksroom has an internal operations manual covering the detail of all policies and guidance for staff & Barristers. It includes specific detail for Maternity, Paternity and Parental Leave. The internal manual is available to all Barristers and Staff at our Head office, Equity House, Taunton or via the internal shared intranet drive on Clerksroom I.T. system.

Planning, implementation and ongoing management:

(1) Equality & Diversity Policy is updated and re-published by Mentor (Part of the RBS Group) as and when legal requirements are updated.

Equality monitoring:

We regularly review:

  • the number and percentages of staff, barristers, from different groups;
  • applications for staff and membership of Clerksroom; 
  • the allocation of unassigned work.

Our review includes:

  • collecting and analysing data broken down by race, disability  and gender;  
  • investigating the reasons for any disparities in that data; and 
  • taking appropriate remedial action.
  • Fair Access to work 

The affairs of our company are conducted in a manner which is fair and equitable for all members of chambers and pupils. This includes, but is not limited to, the fair distribution of work amongst pupils and members of chambers.

Harassment 

Clerksroom have a written anti-harassment policy which clearly states: 

  • that harassment will not be tolerated or condoned and that employees, members of Clerksroom,  others temporarily in our office such as mini-pupils have a right to complain if it occurs; 
  • Our policy is available in the policies section of our website, in our employee manual and provied to all staff during induction
  • The policy and employee manual clearly sets out the procedure for dealing with complaints of harassment.

Parental leave

Clerksroom has a clear parental and adoption leave policy which covers the right of a member of Clerksroom to return to employment or practice after any period of parental or adoption leave.

  • Members of Clerksroom are not required to pay clerks fees and expenses during parental leave. 
  • The procedure for dealing with grievances under the policy are set out in the operations manual;
  • Clerksroom’ has a commitment to review regularly the effectiveness of the policy.

Rent 

Clerksroom offers it's members taking a period of parental leave, or leave following adoption, a waiver of the minimum fee payment during the period of leave. (Commission at the agreed rate remains on a pay when paid basis at the percentage agreed with Clerksroom).

 
Flexible Working 

Clerksroom offer a flexible working policy which covers the right of a member of Clerksroom to take a career break, to work part time, to work flexible hours to enable them to manage their family responsibilities or disability and remain in practice. Clerksroom will accommodate any request from it's members or staff and remain flexible with fees or salary during this time.

Reasonable Adjustments Policy 

Clerksroom have a reasonable adjustments policy aimed at supporting disabled clients, barristers and visitors to chambers. Our HQ at Equity House is fully enabled and the board are fully committed to providing resources that are reasonably required to accommodate any request.


Responsibilities of Diversity Data Officer 

The DDO shall comply with the requirements in relation to the collection, processing and publication of Diversity Data set out in the paragraphs below.


Collection and Publication of Diversity Data 

The DDO shall invite the Members of the Workforce to provide Diversity Data in respect of themselves to the DDO using the model questionnaire at Annex C of the BSB Guidance on these rules. 

The DDO shall ensure that such data is anonymised and that an accurate and updated summary of it is published on our website in the first instance by 31st December 2012 and thereafter every three years. Click here for our latest diversity data.

Our published summary of anonymised data shall: 

  • exclude Diversity Data relating to the characteristics of sexual orientation and religion or belief, unless there is consent from each of the Members of the Workforce; and 
  • exclude Diversity Data in relation to any characteristic where there is a real risk that individuals could be identified, unless all affected individuals consent; and 
  • subject to the foregoing, include anonymised data in relation to each characteristic, categorised by reference to the job title and seniority of the Members of the Workforce. 

The DDO shall: 

  • ensure that Clerksroom has in place a written policy statement on the collection, publication, retention and destruction of Diversity Data which shall include an explanation that the provision of Diversity Data is voluntary; 
  • notify the Members of the Workforce of the contents of the written policy statement; and 
  • obtain explicit consent from individual Members of the Workforce to the provision and processing of their Diversity Data in accordance with the written policy statement and these rules, in advance of collecting their Diversity Data. 
  • The DDO shall have effective systems and controls in place to ensure that any Diversity Data provided to the DDO is collected and held securely and in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998. 
  • The DDO shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that the Diversity Data is not shared with any third parties except as permitted under these rules. 

For the purposes of rule 408, the steps which it is reasonable for a barrister to take will depend on all the circumstances, which include, but are not limited to: 

  • the arrangements in place in their organisation and 
  • any role which they play in those arrangements. 

Definitions

This section contains the definition of terms used in the equality provisions.

In this Code except where otherwise indicated:

  • allocation of unassigned work for the purposes of rule 408.2(e), includes, but is not limited to work allocated to: Barristers of fewer than four years’ standing; and Barristers returning from parental leave.
  • diversity data means information relating to the following characteristics in respect of an individual: Age; Gender; Disability; Ethnic group; Religion or belief; Sexual orientation; Socio-economic background; and Caring responsibilities.
  • family responsibilities for the purposes of rule 408.2(j), includes caring responsibilities for older, young, or disabled dependants or relatives;
  • harassment means any form of unwanted conduct in relation to a relevant protected characteristic which has the effect or purpose of violating a person’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. A single incident may constitute harassment if it is sufficiently serious. The motive or intention of the perpetrator may be (but is not invariably) relevant.
  • investigating for the purposes of rule 408.2(e) means considering the reasons for disparities in data such as: Under- or over-representation of particular groups, e.g. men, women, different ethnic groups or disabled people; Absence of particular groups, e.g. men, women, different ethnic groups or disabled people; Success rates of particular groups; Over- or under-allocation of unassigned work to particular groups.
  • members of the workforce in respect of Clerksroom will include barristers and staff;
  • parental leave means leave taken by the main carer of a child preceding or following birth or adoption. This could be the mother, father or adoptive parent of either sex;
  • regular review for the purposes of rule 408.2 (e) means as often as is necessary in order to ensure effective monitoring and review takes place. In respect of data on pupils it is likely to be considered reasonable that ―regularly should mean annually. In respect of tenants, due to the static nature of the numbers, it is likely to be considered reasonable that ―regularly should mean every three years;
  • remedial action for the purposes of rule 408.2 (e) means any action aimed at removing or reducing the disadvantage experienced by particular groups;
  • selection panel for the purposes of rule 408.2 (b) and (c) means anyone formally tasked with the final decision on recruitment of members or staff;
  • training for the purposes of rule 408.2 (b) and (c) means any course of study covering all the following areas: Fair and effective selection & unconscious bias; Selection criteria and assessment methods; Attraction and advertising; Application processes; Shortlisting skills; Interviewing skills; Assessment and making a selection decision; Monitoring and evaluation.

Training may be undertaken in any of the following ways: Classroom sessions; Online sessions; Private study of relevant materials such as the Bar Council Fair Recruitment Guide for the Bar; Completion of CPD covering fair recruitment and selection processes

Further Information & Guidance can be found at the Bar Standards Board following links:

  1. Bar Standards Board
  2. Equality & Diversity Training
  3. Equality Impact Assessments
  4. Equality Act 2010 - Publication of information
  5. Equality Act 2010 – Publication of Equality Objectives
  6. Equality and Diversity Rules of the Code of Conduct
  7. The Rules in Full
  8. Guidelines on the Equality and Diversity Provisions of the Code of Conduct
  9. Guidance on the Bar Standard Board's Diversity Data Collection Rules
  10. FAQs on the Equality Provisions of the Code of Conduct
  11. Webinar: New Equality and Diversity Rules of the Code of Conduct (1 CPD point)