Aim 8 - Improving Bar Council effectiveness and efficiency

In order to improve our effectiveness and efficiency, we need to: improve our use of resources; be clearer about how we measure success; ensure that we have the capacity, skills and experience needed to deliver our strategic aims and objectives; and improve and streamline our governance and ways of working.

The Bar Council is funded primarily through contributions from individual barristers. The compulsory Practising Certificate Fee (PCF) is levied to support regulatory and representative functions - the so-called 'permitted purposes' - and the central services that underpin them. The Bar Council has recently decided to reform the basis of allocation of the fee so that it relates to income rather than seniority, to better reflect the changing patterns of income across the Bar. There are also significant income streams from voluntary contributions and services provided to barristers, from regulatory action and from the Inns of Court.

We have recently taken some important steps to promote efficiency, notably by significantly reducing the amount of, and hence the cost of, the accommodation we need. We are investing systematically in our IT infrastructure to streamline our working practices.

We need to improve the way we allocate resources to key priorities, and redouble our efforts to provide value for money. We need to put in place more systematic evaluation of our programmes and services and demonstrate clearly the value that we add for members of the Bar and in the wider public interest.

The Bar Council benefits from the high quality of its employees. We are committed to continually improving the effectiveness of the organisation and its reputation as an employer, and to developing our people.

One of the great strengths of the Bar Council is the commitment that individual members of the Bar demonstrate in contributing their time and expertise, through the Council's committee structure and in other ways. We also have talented lay contributors to governance and a highly professional staff with a wide range of experience and expertise.

We need to continue to improve the way that we work to ensure that we are making the very best use of this talent and harness it to the achievement of our strategic aims and objectives.

The current arrangements for governing the Bar Council have served the organisation well over many years, and have been amended from time-to-time. We need to ensure that our governance continues to evolve so that it is fit for purpose in a time of change.

In the light of the above we have set the following three-year objectives to improve overall efficiency and effectiveness.

  • We will continue to strengthen leadership, performance management and operational efficiency

  • We will explore the opportunities to diversify our sources of income, always ensuring that these activities are in line with our strategic aims and are of benefit to the Bar

  • We will aim to stabilise and over time reduce in real terms the call on individual barristers for funds through the PCF

  • We will continue to develop and implement key performance indicators (KPIs) for all of the main strands of our work, and evaluate the outcomes

  • We will keep under review the scope, role and operation of our committees in particular, ensuring that their work aligns with our strategic aims and objectives, and that we make the most effective use of limited resources, and

  • We will keep under review our governance arrangements with the intention of applying the principles of good governance, clarifying and strengthening accountabilities and streamlining decision taking.