Bar Business Standard

The standard

The standard is benchmarked against the LSC's Quality Mark for the Bar, the
Solicitors Quality Mark, the new Solicitors Regulation Authority Handbook,
Lexcel, ISO9001, Investors in People, and compliance standards required by the
Bar Standards Board, the Attorney General's Department and the CPS.

The standard is based around five sets of core competencies which must be met in
order to achieve the new standard.   The five sets are:

  • Srategic Development and Operational Management
  • Client Care
  • Case Management
  • Financial Management, and
  • Human Resources and Pupillage. 

The standard is outcomes focused.  This means that rather than ticking a box
to say that a chambers has this or that document, the assessor will want
evidence that the organisation is using the standard to improve performance and
increase profitability.

Modules

As the need develops, it is intended to draft further modules which will enable
chambers to demonstrate their business competence and so to be eligible for LSC
and local authority contracting; setting up alternative business structures and
engaging in new business activities and any other opportunities created by the
deregulation of legal services. Chambers will be able to select modules
relevant to their business plans. These modules will be created as the need
arises and in consultation with relevant regulatory and contracting parties.

Application process

Chambers will be able to access and download all of the details of the Bar Business
Standard from the Bar Council website.   However, it is proposed that
applications for (re)assessment will be made on-line through the Bar Council
website going direct to those staff responsible for the administration of the
registration process. Assessments will take place within three months of the
application being received. 

Transition from BARMARK to the Bar Business Standard

BSI have decided not to provide assessment services for the new scheme and have
written to those chambers holding BarMark giving three months' notice of
termination.  In order to ensure a smooth transition to the new scheme,
BSI have said they will honour all assessments which are booked or due before
the end of April 2013.

It is therefore proposed that any chambers holding the BARMARK Quality Standard
and due for assessment in 2012 can be reassessed under the existing scheme
before the end of 2012 and their accreditation will be valid until the next
annual assessment is due.

Alternatively, it is proposed that any chambers due for reassessment in 2012 can opt to carry forward BARMARK accreditation, without further assessment, as long as they
apply to be accredited under the Bar Business Standard within six months of its
launch.

Any chambers wanting to gain accreditation for the first time will be able to apply
for the Bar Business Standard from its launch.

It follows that BARMARK and the Bar Business Standard will both be valid quality
standards during 2013.  It is proposed that from January 2014 BARMARK will
no longer be recognised by the Bar Council as a valid quality standard.


Transition from Quality Mark to the Bar Business Standard

It is proposed that any chambers holding the LSC Quality Mark Standard can (if
they wish) transfer to BARMARK accreditation, without assessment, but will be
expected to apply to be accredited under the Bar Business Standard within three
months of its launch.

Our aim is to launch the scheme in Autumn 2012.  Further information on the
audit process, the assessment body and on the application procedure will be
placed on our website in due course.