Clerksroom is committed to encouraging an environment where equality, diversity and inclusion are promoted to, by and amongst those who work and engage with us and to eliminating unlawful discrimination.
Clerksroom values the differences that a diverse workforce brings. This is a key value to which all who work and engage with us are expected to give their support. In line with the regulatory objectives of the Legal Services Board and Bar Standards Board to support the accessibility of legal services, our aim is for our workforce to be truly representative of all sections of society and our clients, and for each employee to feel respected and able to give their best.
In providing services and facilities, we are also committed against unlawful discrimination of clients or the public or anyone else interacting with Clerksroom.
Overall responsibility for this policy rests with the board who fully support this approach to equality, diversity and inclusion. As Clerksroom is a collaborative collection of individuals and businesses practising in their own right, it encourages open and transparent discussion and development of all of its policies, procedures and processes. Amendments can be proposed through this online Chambers Operating Manual located within myclerksroom.
Clerksroom’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Officer is Stephen Ward.
Everyone who works or engages with us should understand they, as well as Clerksroom, can be held liable for acts of bullying, harassment, victimisation and unlawful discrimination in the course of their engagement, against fellow employees, customers, suppliers and the public. This is particularly the case for those whose role means that they are regulated for the work they undertake.
This policy’s purpose is to:
As part of its overall strategy, Clerksroom has deliberately designed its fee structure to support its values of fairness and flexibility and by its very nature supports a cultural environment where Equality, Diversity and Inclusion can flourish.
As a barrister, under the services agreement that you have entered into with Clerksroom, the charges which you pay Clerksroom, for the provision of clerking services, including access to “Chambers 365”, Clerksroom’s diary and case management software, are payable to Clerksroom on a percentage of receipts basis, and any disbursements incurred by Clerksroom on your behalf are payable as soon as they are incurred.
Under the services agreement that you have entered into with Clerksroom, you do not pay “Chambers’ rent” in the sense traditionally understood and associated with sets of chambers. This is because:
Clerksroom commits to:
1. Encouraging equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace as they are good practice and make business sense.
2. Creating a working environment free of bullying, harassment, victimisation and unlawful discrimination, promoting dignity and respect for all, and where individual differences in the contributions of all who work and engage with us are recognised and valued.
3. Training managers, supervisors and all who work and engage with us to understand their rights and responsibilities under the equality, diversity and inclusion policy. The responsibilities include all who work and engage with us conducting themselves in a way which helps Clerksroom provide equal opportunities, prevent bullying, harassment, victimisation and unlawful discrimination in all of the following circumstances:
4. Taking seriously complaints of bullying, harassment, victimisation and unlawful discrimination by fellow employees, members, pupils, clients, suppliers, visitors, the public and any others in the course of Clerksroom work activities.
5. Dealing with such acts as misconduct under the organisation’s grievance and/or disciplinary procedures and taking appropriate action. Particularly serious complaints could amount to gross misconduct and lead to dismissal without notice. More detail of how this will progress in practice can be found in Clerksroom disciplinary and grievance procedures [link in OM version]
6. Further, sexual harassment may amount to both an employment rights matter and a criminal matter, such as in sexual assault allegations. In addition, harassment under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 – which is not limited to circumstances where harassment relates to a protected characteristic – is a criminal offence.
7. Making opportunities for training, development and progress available to all who work and engage with us. Everyone will be helped and encouraged to develop their full potential, so their talents and resources can be fully utilised to maximise the efficiency of the organisation.
8. Making decisions concerning all who work and engage with us based on merit (apart from in any necessary and limited exemptions and exceptions allowed under the Equality Act).
9. Reviewing employment practices and procedures when necessary to ensure fairness, and to also updating them and the policy to take account of changes in the law.
10. Conducting reviews on at least an annual basis to assess how this Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policy, and any supporting action plan, are working in practice and considering and taking action to address any issues.
In addition to the above core training, we will ensure that every member of all selections panels is trained in fair recruitment and selection processes.
Training under this policy will consist of:
Clerksroom recognises the benefits of having a diverse workforce and will take steps to ensure that:
When undertaking recruitment and selection of pupils, in addition to the above, we will ensure that applicants with relevant characteristics are not refused engagement because of such characteristics. In order to support regulatory objectives, Clerksroom will compile and retain data about the relevant characteristics of all applicants for the purposes of reviewing the data in order to see whether there are any apparent disparities in recruitment.
A copy of this policy is provided to all those who work and engage with Clerksroom and is available both on our website and the online Clerksroom Operating Manual.