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PROTOCOL

Our Protocol

Complaints
Procedure

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Client Care
Policy

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Equality Opportunities and Diversity Policy

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Environmental Mission Statement and Policy

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Pupillage
Policy

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Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form

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Safeguarding & Child Protection Policy

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Working
Conditions

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HEALTH AND SAFETY
GUIDELINES

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GRIEVANCE POLICY
AND PROCEDURE

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MINI-PUPILLAGE
POLICY

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PRIVACY
POLICY

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Diversity Data

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Connect

Keep In Touch

Tel: 020 7822 8822
Fax: 020 7822 8844
DX : 422 L.D.E

law@Whitestonechambers.com

www.Whitestonechambers.com 

Whitestone Chambers
Chambers of Lawrence Power
4 King’s Bench Walk
Temple
London
EC4Y 7DL

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COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE

Whitestone Chambers aims to provide an excellent service at all times. However, if you have a complaint you are invited to let us know as soon as possible. It is not necessary to involve solicitors in order to make your complaint, but you are free to do so should you wish. Public access clients should make their complaint directly to us.

You are always invited to discuss any day-to-day concerns about the services of our barristers directly with them, or with the Head of Legal Operations, Robert Pidgeon. We will always endeavour to resolve any concerns you may have at this stage.

Formal Complaints

You may make a formal complaint in writing or by telephone. Please address your formal letter of complaint to Jerome Wilcox, Grievance Officer, Whitestone Chambers, Ground Floor 4 Kings Bench Walk, Temple, London, EC4Y 7DL. Please provide details of your name and address, the name of the member of Chambers you are complaining about, the full details of your complaint, and what you would like done about it. If your complaint is about the Grievance Officer, please address your letter to the Head of Chambers at the same address.

If you complain by telephone a note will be made of these details, and if the matter is resolved by telephone the outcome will be recorded.

We aim to acknowledge your complaint within 5 days of receipt, and to respond to you within 14 days. If it will take longer than this, we will keep you informed about any delay. Our grievance officer will investigate your complaint or will appoint somebody to investigate it. This may include requesting further information from you. The person appointed to investigate will never be the person you have complained about.

When we reply to you we will set out the nature and scope of our investigation, the conclusion reached on each complaint and the basis for that conclusion. If we find that you are justified in your complaint, we will set out our proposal for resolving the complaint.

Complaints Outside the Scope of Our Procedure

It should be noted that it may not always be possible to investigate a complaint brought by a non-client. This is because our ability to satisfactorily investigate and resolve such matters is limited and complaints of this nature are often better suited to the disciplinary processes maintained by the Bar Standards Board. Therefore, we will make an initial assessment of the complaint and if they feel that the issues raised cannot be satisfactorily resolved through our complaints process they will refer you to the Bar Standards Board.

If your complaint, or elements of complaint, relates to professional misconduct or professional negligence then it may be that it is not appropriate for us to resolve or provide redress for your complaint or those particular aspects of it. We will inform you if we consider that your complaint, or elements of it, is not appropriate for our procedure.

Confidentiality

All conversations and documents relating to the complaint will be treated as confidential and will be disclosed only to the extent that is necessary. Disclosure will be to the Head of Chambers, members of our grievance committee and to anyone involved in the complaint and its investigation. Such people will include the barrister or member of staff who you have complained about, the head or relevant senior member of the panel and the person who investigates the complaint. The Bar Standards Board is entitled to inspect the documents and seek information about the complaint when discharging its auditing and monitoring functions.

Our Policy

As part of our commitment to client care we make a written record of any complaint and retain all documents and correspondence generated by the complaint for a period of six years. We regularly inspect an anonymised record of complaints and outcomes with a view to improving services.

Complaints to the Legal Ombudsman

If you are unhappy with the outcome of our investigation and you fall within their jurisdiction you may take up your complaint with the Legal Ombudsman, the independent complaints body for complaints about lawyers, at the conclusion of our consideration of your complaint. The Ombudsman is not able to consider your complaint until it has first been investigated by us.

Please note that the Legal Ombudsman, the independent complaints body for service complaints about lawyers, has time limits in which a complaint must be raised with them. The time limits are:

  1. a) Six years from the date of the act/omission.
  2. b) Three years from the date that the complainant should reasonably have known there were grounds for complaint (if the act/omission took place before the 6 October 2010 or was more than six years ago).
  3. c) Within six months of the complaint receiving a final response from their lawyer, if that response complies with the requirements in rule 4.4 of the Scheme Rules (which requires the response to include prominently an explanation that the Legal Ombudsman was available if the complainant remained dissatisfied and the provision of full contact details for the Ombudsman and a warning that the complaint must be referred to them within six months.

The Ombudsman can extend the time limit in exceptional circumstances. Chambers must therefore have regard to that timeframe when deciding whether they are able to investigate your complaint. We will not therefore usually deal with complaints that fall outside of the Legal Ombudsman's time limits.

The Ombudsman will also only deal with complaints from consumers. This means that only complaints from the barrister's client are within their jurisdiction. Non-clients who are not satisfied with the outcome of our investigation should contact the Bar Standards Board rather than the Legal Ombudsman.

You can write to them at:


Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ


Telephone number: 0300 555 0333


Email: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk


If you are unhappy with the outcome of the investigation, alternative complaints bodies such as Pro Mediate (www.promediate.co.uk) also exist which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services, should you and the barrister both wish to use such a scheme, If you wish to use promediate, please contact us to discuss this. Please also note that: (1) the time limit for contacting promediate is 12 months, and (2) if mediation is used, neither you nor the barrister is required to accept the proposed resolution. If mediation does not resolve the complaint, you may still make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsmen (provided you fall within their jurisdiction and you do so within the time limit)



If you are not the barrister's client and are unhappy with the outcome of our investigation, then please contact the Bar Standards Board at:


Bar Standards Board Professional Conduct Department, 289-293 High Holborn, London WC1V 7HZ


Telephone number: 0207 6111 444


Website: www.barstandardsboard.org.uk


TO BE REVISED: October 2021. This policy will be reviewed every three years.

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Client Care Policy

Introduction

Whitestone Chambers is managed by Mr Lawrence Power who acts as head of chambers. It is operated in line with a constitution agreed by all the barristers who work in the chambers (office). Whitestone is regulated by the Bar Standards Board and is subject to independent regulation and audit by them.

Roll of Administration Team

Whitestone Chambers is staffed by an administrative team led the head of legal operations Robert Pidgeon. The administrative team are a client’s first point of contact and can assist and advise on the suitability of a barrister and provide an estimate of time and fees for any piece of work. The Head of Legal Operations is supported at Whitestone by the business development, a personal assistant and support staff. Financial operational matters are dealt with independently by the finance director.

KYC, Money Laundering & Conflict of Interest Checks

Both KYC and money laundering checks will be made when a new client wishes to engage our legal and advisory services. A conflict of interest check will be carried out by the Head of Legal Operations upon receipt of a legal instructions and alternative arrangements made, including the transfer to other lawyers, if required.

Fees

The client will always be advised prior to or at the time of engaging a barrister of the basis of and calculation of charges/fees. An estimate of costs will be given for privately funded work. Please be aware that factors in a case could occur that would make us review the fees agreed with the client.

New Cases, Briefs and Instructions

Counsel will review new instructions and briefs within 3 days of receipt (or sooner if urgent attention is required) to review papers and confirm they are able to complete instructions by the required date. If this is not possible then a revised date will be suggested to you, if this for any reason is not acceptable, the papers will return to the clerks for the papers to be reallocated in agreement with instructing solicitors or the public access client.

If a brief needs to be reallocated due to factors beyond chambers’ control, then the client will be advised by telephone at the earliest opportunity and the brief reallocated to a barrister of equal standing and experience, only with the prior agreement of the client.

Paperwork

It is our policy that all paperwork be returned to you completed within 14 days unless you agree another deadline (shorter or longer) appropriate to your case. If a matter is required to be dealt with urgently, it would assist us if contact were made in advance or if instructions were clearly marked as urgent. All paperwork will be recorded on our computer system so that we can monitor and adhere to the arrangement in place. We will notify you in the unlikely event of our being unable to meet the deadline set.

Work in Progress

During the progression of a case, the client will be kept informed of the outcome of a court appearance and of the next stage of the case. We will of course arrange any conferences that need to take place and any paper work targets that have been set.

Closing of a Case

After a case has been completed a final invoice/ fee note will be submitted along with any case papers received to date no more than 10 days after completion. Archiving is also available in chambers on a case by case basis.

Complaints Procedure

A copy of our complaints procedure can be made available upon request and can be downloaded from our website at www.whitestonechambers.com

Disabled Access

Whitestone have set up its conference facilities on the ground floor of the building to provide disabled access for our client’s.

Multimedia and Internet Facilities

We offer a wide range of facilities in chambers which include wireless internet and desktop client PC’s, audio visual playback on all formats; white board presentation equipment that includes MAC and PC formats.


This policy will be reviewed by 31 March 2019.

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Equality Opportunity and Diversity Policy

Statement of Policy

  1. The aims of the Whitestone Chambers Equal Opportunities and Diversity Policy (‘the Policy’) are to:

    i. declare the commitment of Whitestone to the practical application and promotion of principles of equal opportunities and diversity;
    ii. communicate that commitment to Whitestone Chambers members, staff and other workers and service users;
    iii. promote further our core values.

    The Policy must be read in conjunction with the Disability Policy and the Parental Leave Policy.
  2. Under the Policy, Whitestone Chambers will avoid discrimination and will promote equality in respect of:
    • Age
    • Disability
    • Having or not having dependants
    • Gender reassignment
    • Marital or civil partnership status
    • Pregnancy or maternity
    • Race (including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins)
    • Religion or belief
    • Sex
    • Sexual orientation.

    • These are known, collectively, as the “protected characteristics”.

  3. Chambers are opposed to all forms of unlawful and unfair discrimination on the prohibited grounds, including:
    • Direct discrimination
      – less favourable treatment because of a protected characteristic;
    • Indirect discrimination
      – the unjustifiable application of an apparently neutral provision or criterion the effect of which is to put a person at a disadvantage for reasons connected with a protected characteristic (for example, working hours or uniform requirements which disadvantage persons for reasons connected with child care responsibilities or religious beliefs);
    • Victimisation
      – unfavourable treatment because the victimised person has previously brought proceedings under the Equality Act 2010, or given evidence or information in connection with such proceedings, or otherwise alleged the commission of conduct which would amount to a breach of the Act or helped someone else to do so;
    • Harassment
      – unwanted conduct which is related to a protected characteristic and which has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that person;

    All applicants for membership, employment, pupillage, and work experience and others who work with or for us will be treated fairly and will not be discriminated against on any of the prohibited grounds. Decisions about membership, recruitment and selection, promotion, training, pay, disciplinary action and any other matter will be made objectively and without unlawful discrimination.

  4. The Policy has regard to the legal obligations, principles and guidance derived from the Equality Act 2010 and the related Codes of Practice.
  5. The policy also reflects Chambers’ commitment to promoting respect for fundamental human rights and compliance with European Union discrimination law.

  6. Chambers recognises that the provision of equal opportunities in the workplace is not merely right as a matter of principle and consistent with our core values, but that it is also good management practice and makes sound business sense. The Policy will help us, and those who work with and for us, to develop their full potential, and thus promote respect for the individual worth of all people involved with Whitestone Chambers.
  7. Scope of the Policy

  8. This policy applies to:
    • Members, including associate and academic members
    • Employees
    • Pupils
    • Students on work experience/Interns
    • Contract workers (including casual workers)
    • Agency workers
    • Volunteer workers
    • Clients (lay and professional) and other service users
    • Anyone who has formerly fallen into one of the categories above, but whose relationship with Whitestone Chambers has either terminated or altered

    Equality Commitments

  9. Whitestone Chambers is committed to:
    • Promoting equality of opportunity for all persons;
    • Promoting a good and harmonious working environment in which all persons are treated with respect;
    • Preventing occurrences of unlawful direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation;
    • Fulfilling all its legal obligations under the Equality Act 2010 and associated codes of practice;
    • Fulfilling all equality and diversity obligations imposed by the Bar Standards Board;
    • Complying with this Policy;
    • Complying with Chambers’ Disability Policy;
    • Taking lawful positive action where appropriate.
    • Regarding breaches of this Policy and of Chambers’ Disability Policy as potential misconduct which could lead to disciplinary proceedings against members, employees and other workers, or a cessation of service to clients or other service users.

    Implementation

  10. Responsibility for implementation of the Policy lies with the Head of Chambers.
  11. To implement the policy, Chambers shall:
    • Communicate the Policy to all persons referred to above except contract workers, agency workers, volunteer workers and clients, by providing all such persons with a copy of this Policy;
    • Inform all contract workers, agency workers and volunteer workers of the existence of this Policy and provide a copy of this Policy to such persons upon request;
    • Retain hard copies of this Policy in Chambers and provide a copy of it (in hard or electronic form) to every new member, employee, pupil and student on work experience/intern. Our terms of service will also refer to it and identify the name of the person in Chambers from whom a copy of this Policy may be obtained;
    • Require all members, employees, pupils and students on work experience to sign a copy of this Policy;
    • Provide equality training and guidance as appropriate, including training on induction and management courses. Such training is compulsory for all members, pupils and employees, and shall be renewed at regular intervals;
    • Ensure that all members and employees who are involved in assessing candidates for recruitment or promotion are or have been trained in non-discriminatory selection techniques;
    • Review the conduct of third party organisations which do business with Whitestone Chambers, in respect of their dealings with us, and endeavour to ensure that we only do business with third party organisations who respect equal opportunities principles in their dealings with Whitestone;
    • Ensure that adequate resources are made available to fulfil the objectives of this Policy.

    Recruitment

  12. Advertisements for membership, employment and pupillages will give sufficiently clear and accurate information to enable potential applicants to assess their own suitability for the post. Information about vacant posts will be provided in such a manner that does not restrict its audience in terms of gender (including gender reassignment), race, marital status, disability, age, part-time status, sexual orientation or religion.
  13. Chambers will publish the statement set out below on all advertisements and detailed vacancy information for staff positions, work experience placements, traineeship and membership:
  14. “Whitestone Chambers is proud to be an equal opportunities employer and is committed to diversity amongst its staff and members. We therefore encourage and welcome applications from women, people of minority ethnic origin and people with disabilities, as well as candidates from other groups which are under-represented in the legal sector. We are happy to make reasonable adjustments to enable disabled candidates to demonstrate their suitability for the job.”

  15. Recruitment literature will not imply a preference for one group of applicants except in pursuance of lawful positive action.
  16. All vacancies for employment will be circulated internally as well as externally, through appropriate non-discriminatory advertising. Where appropriate, persons from under-represented groups will be particularly invited to apply and in all cases those advertising opportunities that are likely to attract the widest and/or most diverse group of candidates will be used.
  17. All descriptions and specifications for posts will only include requirements that are necessary and justifiable for the performance of the job.
  18. All selection will be thorough, conducted against defined criteria and will deal only with the applicant’s suitability for the job. Where it is necessary to ask questions relating to personal circumstances, these will be related purely to the requirements of the job and will be asked of all candidates.
  19. Monitoring and Review

  20. Chambers will establish appropriate information, monitoring and review systems to assist the effective implementation of the Policy. These will include:
  21. Equality and Diversity Monitoring of Members and staff and other workers in Chambers in accordance with regularity requirements and regular review of the effectiveness of this Policy in the light of that data;
  22. Monitoring all recruitment rounds (members and staff) at each stage (application, shortlist/selection for interview, appointment) and reviewing the outcome of that monitoring for the purposes of determining whether the Policy is operating effectively;
  23. Monitoring the number of grievances, and complaints under the Policy and Disability policies by reference to the complainant’s equality and diversity data;
  24. Monitoring the number of disciplinary actions by reference to the equality and diversity data of the person subject to disciplinary action.
  25. Where monitoring identifies significant under-representation or disadvantage of any group, Whitestone will develop an action plan to address the imbalance or disadvantage.
  26. Steps will be taken to ensure that the information gathered will only be treated for the purposes of giving effect to this policy. The information will be treated confidentially with only the Equal Opportunities Officer and the Head of Chambers having access to it, save where it is necessary to disclose it to all Members for the purposes of any decision requiring Membership approval and then such information will to the greatest extent possible be produced in anonymised form.
  27. Complaints

  28. Anyone to whom this policy applies who believes that she/he has suffered any form of discrimination, harassment or victimisation contrary to the Policy, is entitled to raise that concern through the Grievance Procedure.
  29. All complaints of discrimination, harassment or victimisation will be treated confidentially, seriously and promptly. Please telephone Christopher Loxton on 0207-822-8822.

Whitestone Chamber’s Equality and Diversity Policy – Action Plan


Recruitment and Selection
Actions Responsibility Timescale Additional Comments
Review recruitment and selection procedures to ensure that application processes are consistent and fair to all applicants/prospective applicants HoC/E&D Officer Annually Should the procedure/process change in any material way, the review will be carried out at the point of such a change
Ensure that all those involved in recruitment and selection, including Head of Legal Operations and Assistant Staff, are familiar with Chambers’ Equality and Diversity Policy and have received appropriate guidance HoC/E&D Officer Annually
Ensure that Chambers’ Equality and Diversity Policy is available to applicants/prospective applicants and made available in alternative formats where appropriate HoC/E&D Officer/Person with responsibility for website At the point of each recruitment and selection process
Ensure that all declarations of disabilities and all consideration given to making reasonable adjustments are recorded in writing and are subsequently reviewed HoC/E&D Officer/Head of Legal Operations At the point of each recruitment and selection process
Ensure that all complaints are recorded in writing, acted upon and the outcomes recorded and reviewed HoC/E&D Officer/Head of Legal Operations or other as provided for under complaints procedure As they arise
Fair Access to Work and the Allocation of Unassigned Work
Actions Responsibility Timescale Additional Comments
Ensure all clerks are made aware on induction of their responsibilities the fair distribution of work amongst pupils and members of chambers. HoC/Head of Legal Operations On induction
Ensure all new work enquiries are recorded and reviewed Head of Legal Operations Monthly
Ensure the distribution of work of all members and pupils is reviewed Head of Legal Operations 3-monthly
Ensure that all clerks are aware of and receive training and guidance in respect of potentially discriminatory requests/instructions from solicitors or clients HoC/E&D Officer/Head of Legal Operations On induction
Ensure that all clerks are aware of and receive training and guidance in respect of equality and diversity HoC/E&D Officer On induction
Harassment
Actions Responsibility Timescale Additional Comments
Ensure that Chambers’ Equality and Diversity Policy together with the Harassment Policy is available (in alternative formats where appropriate) to all members, employees, clerks, pupils, mini-pupils and interns and applicants/prospective applicants and made available HoC/E&D Officer Annually As and when new members, employees, clerks and pupils join Chambers
Ensure that all members, employees, clerks, pupils are familiar with Chambers’ Equality and Diversity Policy and Harassment Policy and have received appropriate guidance HoC/E&D Officer Annually As and when new members, employees, clerks and pupils join Chambers
Ensure all complaints are recorded in writing, acted upon and the outcomes recorded and reviewed HoC/E&D Officer/Head of Legal Operations or other as provided for under complaints procedure As they arise
Ensure that all declarations of disabilities and all consideration given to making reasonable adjustments are recorded in writing and are subsequently reviewed HoC/E&D Officer/Head of Legal Operations As they arise
Review Chambers’ Equality and Diversity Policy and Harassment Policy to ensure that it is effective and up-to-date E&D Officer Biannually or following a formal complaint
Complaints and Grievances
Actions Responsibility Timescale Additional Comments
Ensure that the identification of Chambers’ E&D Officer is made available as a point of contact HoC/E&D Officer Annually
Ensure that both formal and informal complaint and grievance procedures exist and are communicated in order that individual feels able to complain without fear and in confidence HoC/E&D Officer/Head of Legal Operations Annually
Ensure all complaints are recorded in writing, acted upon and the outcomes recorded and reviewed HoC/E&D Officer/Head of Legal Operations or other as provided for under complaints procedure As they arise
Review Chambers’ Equality and Diversity, Harassment, Complaints and other policies to ensure that they are effective and up-to-date HoC/E&D Officer/Head of Legal Operations or other as appropriate in respect of the particular policy Biannually or following a formal complaint
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Environmental Mission Statement and Policy

This document outlines our commitment to continuous improvement in managing environmental issues including:

  1. Conserving resources;
  2. The proper management and monitoring of waste;
  3. The reduction of pollution and emissions;
  4. Compliance with environmental legislation and codes of practice;
  5. Training of staff;
  6. Monitoring of environmental performance.

ACTION PLAN

  1. Conserving resources

Energy

All members and employees of Whitestone Chambers have been instructed on the following energy saving steps:

  1. Computers, photocopiers, lights and printers should be switched off when not in use.
  2. Standby and energy save modes should be used where feasible.
  3. Heating and ventilation must be used effectively and efficiently with reducing energy consumption in mind.

In addition, Whitestone Chambers have implemented the following:

  1. Electrical timers have been placed on key pieces of office equipment. After a period of non-use, the machine will automatically turn itself off. Although the timers are expensive, we strongly believe that this is the correct approach to reduce energy consumption.
  2. All electronic hand-dryers have been removed from Chambers; portable electric heaters and are stored for emergency use only.
  3. Energy saving lighting equipment has been installed throughout Chambers.

Water

Whitestone Chambers have advised all members to try and reduce water consumption, for example, by not leaving taps running.

    2) The proper management and monitoring of waste

Chambers consider that waste can be minimised by reducing the amount of material we use and by reusing, recycling or repairing materials where possible.

Members of Chambers have taken active steps to ensure the following:

  1. Goods with recycled content or reconditioned parts are preferred, e.g. Re-manufactured toner cartridges, rechargeable batteries and refillable pens.
  2. Recycled paper is the norm.
  3. Dispensable products, e.g. plastic cups, are no longer used in Chambers.
  4. Eco criteria is considered when making all Chambers’ purchases.
  5. Damaged furniture and fixtures are repaired rather than replaced.
  6. New furniture and fixtures are sourced from sustainable suppliers.

Chambers believe that a large amount of business waste is made up of paper. In our effort to reduce paper waste Chambers have implemented the following:

  1. All fax transmissions are now received electronically.
  2. All internal correspondence is sent electronically.
  3. A network scanner has been installed so that legal papers can be stored electronically and converted to digital format for onward transmission saving reprinting costs.
  4. Paper is printed on both sides whenever possible.
  5. Used paper is re-cycled as scrap paper.
  6. Documents to be read by multiple members of Chambers are printed once and circulated.
  • 3) The reduction of pollution and emissions

Chambers have taken active steps to:

  1. Reduce litter and ensure that our grounds are kept litter free;
  2. Avoid purchases of ozone-depleting substances such as CFCs;
  3. Purchase more bio-degradable and “green” substances;
  4. Reduce unnecessary travel. Telephone and video conferences are encouraged where possible. When it is necessary to deliver papers, this is done, where possible, via bike courier.
  • 4) & 5) Compliance with legislation and codes of practice and training.

Members of Whitestone Chambers have been fully briefed on all areas of relevant environmental law. They have been advised on the methods of reducing our carbon footprint and to carry out their own independent research.

  • 6) Monitoring of environmental performance.

An Environmental Policy officer has been nominated on behalf of Chambers since 2008. It is their duty to monitor and consider policies in place. Where necessary these policies are revised and considered at Chambers’ Annual General Meeting.

  • 7) Under Review:

Chambers Heating

  • Improve insulation and draft-proofing.
  • Switch off heaters overnight and at weekends and at holidays.
  • Keep thermostat between 19°C and 21°C.
  • Use blinds to shade windows in the summer.

Electronic Equipment

  • Switch off machines when not in use.
  • Use standby and energy save modes where feasible.
  • Use energy efficient fridges and cookers in the kitchen.

Consumables - Paper Action Plan

  • Use double-sided printing and copying whenever possible.
  • Only make copies that are required.
  • E-file on computer drives.
  • Send circulars not multiple copies.

Other Office Consumables

  • Re-use files, ring binders etc. or give to local charities and schools.
  • Collect ring binders from the court/tribunal once cases are finished so that they can be reused.
  • Share items in occasional use (staplers, hole-punches etc.).
  • Repair furniture, fixtures etc. to avoid replacements.
  • Minimise and Recycle Waste Action Plan.
  • All Chambers waste is recycled by private company that collects mixed waste each day.
  • Use re-manufactured toner cartridges where possible.
  • Print brochures on recycled or sustainable-source paper.
  • Use rechargeable batteries.
  • Limit the Impact of UK travel.
  • Use electronic mail and other telecom tools.
  • 8) Contact

Please contact Robert Pidgeon (02078228822) with any ideas which can assist the overall strategy implemented by Chambers.


This policy will be reviewed by 31 March 2019.

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Pupillage Policy

In recruiting pupils, we search for candidates who show the potential required to become successful barristers and who will fit well with our working environment at Whitestone. Therefore we select pupils according to certain criteria which are applied at each stage of the selection process. This criterion is set out below.

Whitestone operates an equal opportunities policy in the selection process in line with the equality rules in the Bar Standards Board handbook. No assumptions will be made about a candidate’s abilities or potential based on race, ethnic or national origins, nationality, citizenship, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, age, religion, political persuasion or disability.

Paper application:

All pupillages are advertised via www.pupillgegateway.com together with full details of how to apply.

Chambers will draw up a short list of applicants from the applications received by the closing date. All applications will usually be considered by at least 2 members of Chambers. In the event that there is significant disagreement between the assessments made, additional members of Chambers will make their own assessment of the application.

In assessing the written applications Chambers looks for:

- Satisfactory overall presentation of the application:

  • Quality of CV and covering letter;
  • Accuracy of spelling and grammar;
  • Whether the specific position applied for is clearly stated.

- Evidence of intellectual ability:

  • Applicants for first six will be expected to have performed to a high academic level;
  • Whether this is supported by research, publications and relevant work experience, such as any paralegal work or volunteering, for example at CAB;
  • Ability to express ideas clearly and persuasively (written at this stage and orally at interview stage).

- Motivation:

  • Applicants are expected to show a commitment to develop their acquired legal skills for successful practice at the Bar;
  • Achievements i.e. academic/ professional/sporting;
  • Other work and commitments;
  • Efforts to gain experience – mooting/debating, mini pupillage, marshalling, work placements;
  • Evidence of commitment to hard work and an organised approach to work.

Aside from the above criteria, there are no specific qualifications or qualities that Chambers requires. Similarly, Chambers does not have a set number of applicants who will be interviewed. All candidates who are considered to have demonstrated sufficiently the attributes set out above will be short listed for interview.

First and second interview:

Short-listed applicants are called for a first interview in Chambers. Following the first round of interviews a short list is made of those who will be called for a second interview.

The purpose of the interview is to find out as much as possible about the candidate so their qualities may be assessed. Interviews are structured in order to ensure comparability between interviewees. This is done by posing similar questions regarding Whitestone’s selection criteria. A standard set of questions and scoring guidelines are agreed by Chambers beforehand. All candidates are marked on the same basis. Questions will avoid personal relationships and family composition which are irrelevant to suitability.

Each candidate will be given a score from 1-5 for each area of selection criteria. Listed in order of priority, these are:

- Intellectual abilities

  • Performed to a high academic level;
  • Ability to express ideas clearly and persuasively.

- Relationships

  • Ability to develop professional relationships and to work well with others;
  • Strong interpersonal skills.

- Temperament

  • Ability to engage with others;
  • Appropriate demeanour and ability to adapt in different situations.

- Motivation

  • Commitment to develop their acquired legal skills for successful practice at the Bar;
  • Evidence of commitment to hard work and an organised approach to work.

- Self-presentation/impact

  • Good first impression;
  • Positive and confident attitude.

The first interview is more general and the questions are designed to ascertain the applicant’s genuine interest in Whitestone and commitment to the Bar.

Scoring is carried out separately by the member of the interview panel. All scores will be recorded immediately after the interview. At the conclusion of the interview stage, the interviewer will consider the performance of each candidate and decide on whom to invite to a second interview.

At each stage unsuccessful candidates are notified promptly.

Second interview (if applicable)

This interview will last for 15 minutes and is more challenging than the first.

Interviews will be conducted by at least 2 members of Chambers reflecting where possible the full diversity of Chambers as well as different levels of seniority. Except where prevented by immediate circumstance, all candidates will be interviewed by the same members of Chambers.

The candidate will be asked hypothetical questions. The purpose of this is to test the candidate’s ability to think on their feet when under pressure, to articulate an argument effectively, their presentational and persuasive skills and their judgment.

Questions will be asked which may cover a wide variety of topics depending on the individual. Such questions are designed to assess the applicant’s personal qualities, such as, personality, manner, client skills, general knowledge, organisational skills, regulation and knowledge of current affairs.

Interviews are structured in order to ensure comparability between interviewees. A standard set of questions and scoring guidelines are agreed by Chambers beforehand. All candidates are marked on the same basis.

Each candidate will be given a score from 1-5 for each area of selection criteria. Listed in order of priority, these are:

- Intellectual abilities

  • Performed to a high academic level;
  • Ability to express ideas clearly and persuasively.

- Relationships

  • Ability to develop professional relationships and to work well with others;
  • Strong interpersonal skills.

- Temperament

  • Ability to engage with others;
  • Appropriate demeanour and ability to adapt in different situations.

- Motivation

  • Commitment to develop their acquired legal skills for successful practice at the Bar;
  • Evidence of commitment to hard work and an organised approach to work.

- Self-presentation/impact

  • Good first impression;
  • Positive and confident attitude.

Specialist knowledge is not required. The candidate is only expected to have a general interest in and understanding of legal matters. Candidates are also encouraged to ask questions at the end of the interview.

Scoring is carried out separately by each member of the interview panel. All scores will be recorded immediately after the interview. At the conclusion of the interview stage the interviewers will meet to discuss the performance of each candidate and reach agreement on whom to offer pupillage to.

At each stage unsuccessful candidates are notified promptly.

2nd & 3rd Six - Paper application:

Applicants for 2nd or 3rd six pupillages must demonstrate a solid grounding in basic practice and procedure in either criminal or civil law. Prior to selection applicants will be expected to produce examples of written work and references regarding both academic and professional work.

Chambers will initially follow the procedure set out at 1 above. 1st six pupils from Chambers will need to apply for 2 nd six.

Following that stage Chambers will draw up a short list of applicants who, on assessment of their application, are suitable for interview.

Pupils who have completed their first six at Whitestone Chambers are required to apply for a second sixth in the same way as any other applicant seeking a second sixth. Accordingly

- All pupils are required to make a formal application. This consists of the following:

  • Cover letter (no more than one page);
  • Updated CV;
  • Single lever arch file with index to include a cross section of drafting undertaken by the applicant, a copy of their 1st six diary (taken from IRIS) for the last 5 months;
  • Only one copy of the application is required and it will be filed in the clerks’ room. Tenants are written to asking them to review the application in the following two weeks and supply written comments (if any) to the Head of Legal Operations.

In assessing the written applications Chambers looks for:

- Satisfactory overall presentation of the application:

  • Quality of CV and covering letter;
  • Accuracy of spelling and grammar;
  • Whether the specific position applied for is clearly stated.

- Evidence of intellectual ability:

  • Applicants for a second six will be expected to have performed to a high academic level;
  • Whether this is supported by research, publications and relevant work experience, such as any paralegal work or volunteering, for example at CAB;
  • Ability to express ideas clearly and persuasively (written at this stage and orally at interview stage).

- Motivation:

  • Applicants are expected to show a commitment to develop their acquired legal skills for successful practice at the Bar;
  • Achievements i.e. academic/ professional/sporting;
  • Other work and commitments;
  • Efforts to gain experience – mooting/debating; mini pupillage, marshalling, work placements;
  • Evidence of commitment to hard work and an organised approach to work.

Single interview

This interview will last up to 20 minutes.

- The candidate will be asked about their:

  • Selection of written work;
  • 1st six diary;
  • Expectations of provisional practice.

One hypothetical question. The purpose of this is to test the candidate’s ability to think on their feet when under pressure, to articulate an argument effectively, their presentational and persuasive skills and their judgment.

General practice questions. Specialist knowledge is not required. The candidate is only expected to have a general interest in and understanding of legal matters. Candidates are also encouraged to ask questions at the end of the interview.

Aspirational questions where the candidate is expected to explain their prospective for practice and future career.

At the conclusion of the interview stage the interviewers will meet to discuss the performance of each candidate and reach agreement on whom to offer pupillage to.

Tenancy

Selection is made according to how the applicant fits with the working needs of Chambers at the time the application is made.

Decision to offer tenancy to a pupil:

- Pupillage is an opportunity to put developing skills into practice and, hopefully, to secure a tenancy. However, we do not treat pupillage as a year long interview for tenancy. Instead, the emphasis is on the pupil’s development as a barrister as well as their prospects as a tenant.

- The decision is made during the pupil’s second six and applications are invited after 4 months.

- The decision is made either by a recruitment committee comprising 3 members of Chambers or by all the tenants of Whitestone Chambers in general meeting. The Head of Legal Operations will be invited to obtain feedback and will supply this to tenants either in a written report or orally in general meeting.

- The merits of the candidate are assessed on the basis of their performance throughout pupillage and against the selection criteria outlined above.

- The decision to offer tenancy to a pupil is also made according to the Bar Equality Code.

- Junior tenants are generally recruited from our own pupils. However, we reserve the right not to offer tenancy to any pupil.

- The pupil is required to make a formal application. This consists of the following:

  • Cover letter (no more than one page);
  • Single lever arch file with index to include a cross section of drafting undertaken by the applicant, a copy of their work diary (taken from IRIS) for the last 6 months;
  • Only one copy of the application is required and it is filed in the clerks’ room. Tenants are written to asking them to review the application in the following two weeks and supply and written comments to the Head of Legal Operations.

Applications to join Whitestone Chambers as a tenant:

- Whitestone may at times wish to recruit an experienced barrister. Positions will be advertised and applications are welcome in the form of CV and covering letter.

- In line with planned expansion, applications are invited from common law, commercial and personal injury practitioners.

- In the event of multiple applications, chambers will decide which applications are sufficiently strong to take to the next stage, bearing in mind the business objectives of Whitestone and the applicant’s level of skill and experience. On this basis a short list of applicants for interview will be drawn up.

- Tenants will meet the applicants to discuss their professional history, experience, standing at the bar and their reasons for wanting to join Whitestone Chambers.

- Applicants are likely to be invited to meet with tenants on an informal basis at chambers after the working day has concluded.

- Any decision to offer tenancy will be made by the tenants. Such a decision can be made without a formal general meeting.

- Tenancy’s will be offered which include a probationary period.

Communication and Records

Records are kept of all applications and decisions relating to recruitment.

Chambers do not provide feedback to candidates following applications made to it. We wish we could, but we simply do not have the resources to do so given the number of candidates that apply to the set.

Professional Statement for Barristers.

The Bar Standards Board have provided a document entitled “Professional Statement for Barristers” which incorporates the threshold standard and competences for Barrister. A copy is annexed to our Pupil Policy available by selecting the download button below.

This policy will be reviewed by 31 October 2019.

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Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form

To assist us with our commitment to equality and diversity monitoring, we would be grateful if you would complete the following monitoring form. It is not part of the application form. We are regulated by the Bar Standards Board (BSB). The information requested covers those areas encompassed in the BSB’s Equality Rules and Guidance. You do not have to answer all or any of the questions, but in providing this information you will help us to ensure that our recruitment is fair and objective for all.

The information in the form, or the fact that one has been completed, will not be passed to any person involved in the selection process and has no impact on the assessment of your application at any stage. The monitoring questionnaire is separated from the application forms on receipt and retained by our Data Diversity Officer. After the selection process for the role is complete, those responsible for diversity monitoring will review the data for reporting purposes. The monitoring forms and all raw data are then destroyed.

This monitoring process assists us in our policy of recruiting, developing and retaining the most talented barristers, pupils and staff to our Chambers. We value the diversity of backgrounds, skills and experiences found in our Chambers, and actively promote an inclusive culture where our members and staff are able to flourish. We hope to attract and select people on the basis of talent and their potential to succeed.

If you choose to provide information, it will be treated in the strictest of confidence. By providing the information, you consent to the use and publication of anonymised statistics for the purposes of diversity monitoring of our selection processes. The provision of this information is entirely voluntary, and it will only be used for monitoring and statistical analysis and will be held in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018 and GDPR Regulation.

  • Q1. Please select a box below to indicate whether you are:

    • Male
    • Female
  • Q2. From the list of age bands below please select a box to indicate the category that includes your current age in years:

    • 20 – 24
    • 35 - 44
    • 55 - 64
    • 25 – 34
    • 45 – 54
    • 64 +
  • Q3. What is your ethnic group? Choose one of the groups below to indicate your ethnic group (please select one box only):

    White

    • British/English/Welsh/Northern Irish/Scottish
    • Irish
    • Gypsy or Irish Traveller
    • Any other White Background

    Black/African/Caribbean/Black British

    • Caribbean
    • African
    • Any other Black/Caribbean/Black British background

    Asian/ Asian British

    • Indian
    • Pakistani
    • Bangladeshi
    • Chinese
    • Any other Asian background

    Mixed

    • White/Black Caribbean
    • White/ Black African
    • White/Asian
    • Other mixed

    Other ethnic group

    • Arab
    • Any other ethnic group
  • Q1. Please select a box below to indicate whether you are:

    • Male
    • Female
  • Q4. Do you consider yourself to have a disability?

    (The Equality Act 2010 defines a person as having a disability if he or she has a physical or mental impairment, which has a substantial long term, adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. “Long term” means that the impairment is likely to have lasted for 12 months or more).

    (a) Do you consider yourself to have a disability according to the definition above?

    • Yes
    • No

    (b) Are your day to day activities limited because of a health problem or disability which has lasted, or is expected to last, at least 12 months?

    • Yes, limited a lot
    • Yes, Limited a little
    • No
  • Q5. What is your sexual orientation?

    • Bisexual
    • Gay man
    • Other
    • Gay woman/lesbian
    • Heterosexual/straight
  • Q6. What is your religion or belief?

    • No religion or belief
    • Christian
      (all denominations)
    • Jewish
    • Sikh
    • Buddhist
    • Hindu
    • Muslim
    • Any other religion
  • Q7. What is your socio-economic background?

    (a) If you went to university (to study a BA, BSc or higher) were you part of the first generation of your family to do so?

    • Yes
    • No
    • Did not attend university

    (b) Did you mainly attend a state or fee paying school between the ages of 11-18?

    • State
    • Fee paying

    (c) If you attended a fee paying school, did you ever receive any kind of financial reward to cover 50% or more of the school fees?

    • Yes
    • No
  • Q8. Do you have caring responsibilities?

    (a) Are you a primary carer for a child or children under 18?

    • Yes
    • No

    (b) Do you look after or give any help or support to family members, friends, neighbours or others because of either:

    • Long term physical or mental-ill health/disability

    • Problems related to old age

    (Please do not count anything you do as part of paid employment)

    • No
    • Yes, 20 – 49 hours a week
    • Yes, 1 – 19 hours a week
  • Q9. About you If you are an authorised person* for the purposes of the Legal Services Act 2007 (i.e. you hold a practising certificate issued by one of the approved regulators), please indicate your professional qualification(s) and role (tick all that apply if you are dual qualified and have a current practising certificate from more than one approved regulator):

    Barrister QC
    Tenant/ member
    Other (including pupil

    If you do not fall into any of the categories listed above, please indicate which of the following categories best fits your role:

    Any other fee-earning role (e.g. trainee solicitor, legal executive (not fellow), paralegal
    Any role directly supporting a fee earner (e.g. legal secretary, administrator, barristers clerk, practice manager, legal assistant, paralegal)
    A managerial role (e.g. Director / non-lawyer Partner / Chief Executive / Practice Director or similar, Head of Legal Practice (HoLP) / Head of Finance & Administration (HoFA) or similar) An IT/HR/other corporate
    An IT/HR/other corporate services role
    Prefer not to say

    Your role in your organisation Please note that this question applies to self-employed as well as employed persons. (a) Do you have a share in the ownership of your organisation (e.g. equity partner, shareholder)?

    Yes
    No
    Prefer not to stay

    *The definition of an “authorised person‟ is set out in the Legal Services Act 2007, Section 18(1). For the purposes of this Act “authorised person”, in relation to an activity (“the relevant activity”) which s a reserved legal activity, means – (a) a person who is authorised to carry on the relevant activity by a relevant approved regulator in relation to the relevant activity (other than by virtue of a licence under Part 5), or (b) a licensable body which, by virtue of such a licence, is authorised to carry on the relevant activity by a licensing authority in relation to the reserved legal activity. Bar Standards Board 26 (b) Do you have responsibility for supervising or managing the work of lawyers or other employees? P Yes No Prefer not to say Age From the list of age bands below, please indicate the category that includes your current age in years.

    THANK YOU.

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Safeguarding & Child Protection Policy

Introduction

Whitestone Chambers (as defined below ‘Chambers’) is managed by Mr Lawrence Power who acts as Head of Chambers. It is operated in line with a constitution agreed by all the barristers who work in the chambers (office). Chambers is regulated by the Bar Standards Board and is subject to independent regulation and audit by them. Due to our interaction with young people it is important that we have a safeguarding and child protection policy specific to the type of work we do, in order to ensure the best possible protection of young students. The policy is tailored towards internships and various workshops and outlines the types of interaction between young people and adults in these circumstances. They also include how to prevent any issues from occurring.

Chambers are aware of the important role we play in ensuring the safety of our participants. This policy outlines the systems and procedures in place which are necessary to protect and promote the welfare of young students. In developing our safeguarding and child protection policy chambers makes use of the guidance from Working Together to Safeguard Children (Department for Children, Schools and Families, March 2010), the relevant Local Authority (LA), the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board (LSCB), and The London Child Protection Procedures.

This policy applies to adults working in any capacity with chambers (which includes, but is not limited to, members of chambers, - staff, tenants, interns and individuals working within chambers on internships). However, some parts of the policy apply only to particular groups, which is expressly stated. All adults working in chambers will be informed about this policy and where a copy can be obtained.

The aims of this policy are to:

  • Provide definitions of important and relevant terms.
  • Outline good practice guidelines.
  • Supply details of the designated staff members of the chambers that will deal with safeguarding and child protection concerns.
  • Ensure the commitment to safe recruitment, selection and vetting.
  • Increase awareness of the possible risks of child abuse and neglect amongst members of chambers and all adults working within Chambers.
  • Ensure all adults working within chambers have a good understanding of safeguarding and child protection, ways in which to minimise any risks, and the action that should be taken upon becoming aware of any incidents.
  • Ensure that all adults who are working within chambers are aware of the specific and structured response procedure to safeguarding and child protection concerns.
  • Establish and provide the best system for child protection and promoting the welfare of young students involved with Chambers.
  • Express the commitment of chambers to safeguarding and child protection.

Definitions

It is important to clearly define key terms so that all members of chambers and those involved with chambers are aware of exactly what each term means. This is essential as this information may help in detecting whether there has been any form of child abuse, and what form it is. Knowing the type of abuse one may be dealing with is crucial as it may dictate the way in which the situation needs to be dealt with. Each case is unique and therefore sensitivity to each case and its details is necessary in order to ensure the child is protected in the best way possible. We are aware that some of the forms of abuse below may not be applicable to the work chambers carries out, however it is important to have a good understanding of all of them.

For the avoidance of doubt, ‘Chambers’ student’ means any student participating in the chambers programme, in whatever capacity and for any period of time. ‘Child’ and ‘Young Person’ are used interchangeably to mean any person under the age of 18.

Safeguarding

Chambers uses the definition for safeguarding given by the UK Government in the Department for Children, Schools and Families guidance: Working Together to Safeguarding Children (2010) (‘Government Guidance’).

This document defines safeguarding as:

  • Protecting children from maltreatment.
  • Preventing impairment of children’s health or development.
  • Ensuring that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care, and
  • Undertaking that role so as to enable those children to have optimum life chances and to enter adulthood successfully.

The Government Guidance defines the types of child abuse that may occur.

Physical abuse

Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poising, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child or failing to protect a child from such harm. It may be done deliberately or recklessly, or be the result of a deliberate failure to prevent injury.

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to watch or take part in sexual activities, including prostitution, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The abuse does not need to involve physical contact.

Emotional abuse

Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person.
Emotional abuse will include bullying (and cyber-bullying), which may be defined as deliberately hurtful behaviour, usually repeated over a period of time, where it is difficult for those bullied to defend themselves. All settings in which children are provided with services or are living away from home should have in place rigorously enforced anti-bullying strategies.

Neglect

Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. Neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food and clothing; shelter, or failing to protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger.

Good practice guidelines

All adults working with chambers, in whatever capacity, should demonstrate exemplary behaviour. The following are common sense examples of how to create a positive culture and environment. Following these guidelines will ensure protection for adults working with chambers as it will help to prevent inappropriate situations from occurring.

Good practice means

  • Always working in an open environment, avoiding private situations and encouraging open communication.
  • Treating all chambers students with respect and dignity
  • Always prioritising the welfare of each of chamber’s students.
  • Maintaining a safe and appropriate distance from the chamber’s student.
  • Having the chambers student based in an office space with many people around.
  • Keeping doors open and blinds up, if a member of chambers is alone in a room with a chamber’s student.
  • Ensuring all conversations online between mentor and mentee for the programme is appropriate and work-related; personal details such as contact details should not be shared.
  • Ensuring that any form of physical activity e.g. lifting, using step ladders, is in Compliance with Social Mobility Foundations Risk Assessment Procedures.
  • Being an excellent role model e.g. not drinking alcohol in the company of the chamber’s student.
  • Giving enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism.
  • Recognising the developmental needs and capacity of students avoiding excessive training or competition and not pushing the chamber’s student against their will.
  • If the need arises, and only if trained to do so, administering emergency first aid and/or other medical treatment and consulting the Emergency Details part of the chamber’s student application form.
  • Keeping a written record of any injury that occurs, along with the details of any treatment given, and reporting it to the Social Mobility Foundation.
  • Reporting any incidents (see below).
  • Not spending unnecessary amounts of time alone with chamber’s student away from others.
  • Not taking or dropping off chamber’s student by car to another location.
  • Not saying anything that might make the chamber’s student feel uncomfortable, or which could be interpreted as aggressive, hostile or impatient.

Under no circumstances should any adult working with Chamber’s:

  • Arrange to meet up with a chamber’s student in a personal capacity.
  • Engage in rough physical or sexually provocative games.
  • Allow or engage in any form of inappropriate touching.
  • Allow chamber’s students to use inappropriate language unchallenged.
  • Make sexually suggestive comments to a chamber’s student.
  • Do things of a personal nature for a chamber’s student that they can do for themselves.
  • Invite or arrange for or allow a chamber’s student to visit them somewhere other than their place of work e.g. home, pub etc.
  • Allow allegations made by a chamber’s student to go unchallenged, unrecorded or not acted upon.
  • Fail to report to chambers anything inappropriate that the student does or says.

Incidents that must be reported/recorded:

If you witness or are a party to any of the following, as an adult working in chambers you should report this immediately to the designated contact and record the incident.

  • You hurt a chamber’s student, even if unintentionally.
  • You witness any inappropriate behaviour, whether from another adult or from another chamber’s student.
  • The student seems distressed in any manner.
  • The student appears to be physically attracted to you or to another adult.
  • The student misunderstands or misinterprets something you have done.
  • The student makes suggestive or inappropriate comments, either in person, online or using any other form of communication.

You should always feel confident to voice concerns about the attitude or actions of colleagues.

Where a chamber’s student is on an internship, the internship provider is expected to notify chambers immediately upon becoming aware of any safeguarding/child protection issues.

Safe Recruitment

Due to the fact that all adults involved with chambers have some level of interaction with young people, it is critical that safe recruitment is practised. Members of chambers will be trained so they know how to deal with any safeguarding concerns and will be in possession of chamber’s Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy. Internship providers and student participants will be informed about the safeguarding policy and the procedures that are to be followed should any issues arise. All adults working in chambers are expected to follow the good practice guidelines as set out in this policy.

Systems and procedures

Robert Pidgeon is Head of Legal Operations and is in charge of dealing with any safeguarding concerns. He will be responsible for, among other things, dealing with any allegations, overseeing the referral of cases of suspected abuse to the relevant investigating agencies, providing advice and support to members of chambers and maintaining records of any referral, complaint or concern.

Once a concern has been discussed the appropriate action will be taken and authorities will be notified if necessary, in accordance with the Response Procedure set out below. Chambers treats these matters with the utmost confidentiality, in accordance with the confidentiality guidelines set out below.

Good practice guidelines have been outlined in this policy and therefore all members of chambers issued with a copy of this policy or made aware of it, are considered to be aware of the manner in which they are to conduct themselves. Chambers is aware of the fact that it may be difficult to establish cases of abuse. We acknowledge that the use of the expertise of social services and other authorities may be needed and will involve the relevant authorities where necessary.

Response procedure

The procedure for responding to safeguarding, child protections concerns, and allegations is in line with Government Guidance. If you, as an adult working in chambers and are informed about a concern, you should:

  • Make it your priority as such issues need to be dealt with as quickly as possible.
  • Listen carefully to the concern that is being raised.
  • Try not to ask leading questions, as these may influence the answers of the subject, and distort the evidence.
  • Record the concern in writing, making an effort to use the exact words the subject has used in order to be as accurate as possible. Details such as names, dates, times, and location should all be recorded.
  • Once you have established the problem, reassure the young person and indicate how they will act in a way that is best for the young person’s safety.
  • Good practice guidelines have been outlined in this Policy and therefore all staff, and any person issued with a copy of this Policy or made aware of it, are considered to be aware of the manner in which they are to conduct themselves.
  • Inform the Head of Legal Operations immediately.
  • Head of Legal Operations should not carry out an investigation, but should review the evidence and consider the seriousness of the allegations. He should then refer the case to the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) if the allegations are that a member of chambers has: behaved in a way that has or may have harmed a young person; possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a young person; or behaved in a way that indicates they are unsuitable to work with young people.

The Head of Legal Operations and the LADO will consider whether the Police or any external agency should be contacted. Every possible assistance should be provided to any external investigator in the carrying out of the investigation.

Provided that it is possible to do so without impeding the investigation or posing any risk to the young person’s safety:

  • The parents/carers of the young person involved should be informed of the allegation, and kept informed of any progress. If there has been any physical injury to the young person the parents/carers should be informed immediately.
  • The subject of the allegations should be informed of them, and of the progress of the investigation. Given the potential damage to career/reputation, chambers will always aim to treat matters sensitively and keep an open mind.

If external investigators are not required, or if the external investigation has been completed, Head of Legal Operations should carry out an internal investigation and consider whether to take any disciplinary action (see below).

Specific Roles

Due to the type of work chambers is involved in, the way in which concerns, and allegations are dealt with may vary depending on who the subject of allegation is and what their role and interaction with the child involves. When concerns are reported, all adults working with chambers should follow the response procedure as set out above. However, the subsequent steps may differ depending on the individual’s role:

  • In the case where a complaint is made about an individual involved in a student’s internship, members of chambers will meet with a senior manager from the individual’s organisation to review the evidence and consider the seriousness of the allegations. Until this can be established the student must cease participation in the internship until the outcome is determined and next steps decided upon. In the case that it is decided that the individual is not suitable to continue participating in the internship, the internship will be stopped and the student will be moved to another internship where this is possible. If no criminal offence has been committed but the individual’s behaviour was deemed to be inappropriate, the individual’s employer will be responsible for taking disciplinary action. If a criminal offence has been committed the police (and any other relevant body) will be contacted to take the matter further.
  • With regards to mentors, if an allegation is made against them written records between mentor and mentee will be checked by a member of chambers. Chambers will look for any inappropriate content that has been shared and in the cases where this is found, it will be recorded. Both mentor and mentee will be consulted to discuss the matter, and may be terminated from the programme if necessary
  • It may be that a chamber’s student (A) is alleged to have behaved inappropriately towards another chamber’s student (B). In such an instance, chambers will investigate the matter following the procedures outlined in this policy. If necessary for the safety and well-being of the students, both students A and B may be suspended from the programme while the allegations are considered. If the allegations are upheld, chambers student (A) will be removed from the programme. Chamber’s student (B) may be removed from the programme if the allegations are found to false or malicious. Unless it is inappropriate to do so, the student’s parents/carers will be informed, together with any other relevant authorities

Confidentiality

Chambers will make every effort to maintain confidentiality and guard against publicity while an allegation is being investigated or considered. Apart from keeping the young person, parents and accused person (where this would not place the young person at further risk) up to date with progress of the case, information should be restricted to those who have a need to know in order to protect young people, facilitate enquiries, or manage related disciplinary or suitability processes.

Disciplinary Action and Suspension

Where disciplinary action is taken against a member of chambers, it should be done so in accordance with chamber’s disciplinary policy. It may be necessary to suspend the individual against whom allegations have been made if, for example:

  • There is cause to suspect a child is at risk of significant harm; or
  • The allegation warrants investigation by the police; or
  • The allegation is so serious that it might be grounds for dismissal.

Record-Keeping

Chambers will keep a clear and comprehensive summary of any allegations made, details of how the allegation was followed up and resolved, and details of any action taken and decisions reached, on a person’s confidential personnel file and give a copy to the individual.

Timing

It is in everyone’s interest to resolve cases as quickly as possible consistent with a fair and thorough investigation. Chambers will make every effort to manage cases to avoid any unnecessary delay. However, the time taken to investigate and resolve individual cases depends on a variety of factors including the nature, seriousness, and complexity of the allegation.

Conclusion of Investigation

If the allegation is substantiated, the individual may be dismissed from chambers, or their participation in the programme may be terminated. Further action may be pursued by the relevant authorities. Chambers will make any notifications that it is required to by law.

If it is decided on the conclusion of the case that a person who has been suspended can return to work, chambers will consider how best to facilitate that.

If an allegation is determined to be unfounded or malicious, chambers will alert the relevant people or external bodies if there is a concern that the young person is in need of assistance. In the rare event that an allegation is shown to have been deliberately invented or malicious, chambers will ask the police to consider whether any action might be appropriate against the person responsible.

Chambers is aware of the importance of balancing the welfare of the young person against the potential damage that can be caused to an individual’s career and reputation. All cases will be dealt with by chambers in a sensitive manner and in a carefully measured way. In cases of abuse chambers will ensure that the young person is put in contact with social services and/or other relevant bodies so that the necessary support is provided.


Other contacts:

The Independent Safeguarding Authority may be contacted via one of the following channels:

By telephone on 01325 953 795

By email to: isadispatchteam@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

By post to:
Independent Safeguarding Authority
Post Office Box 181
Darlington DL1 9FA


NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children)

NSPCC Helpline 0808 800 5000

Text phone 0800 056 0566

Fax 020 7825 2750 – marked for the attention of the duty manager

By post to:
Weston House
42 Curtain Road
London
EC2A 3NH
To find the relevant central/local government service for your area, please visit: www.direct.gov.uk

Reference List

Working together to safeguard children (every child matters)
https://www.education.gov.uk/publications/eOrderingDownload/00305-2010DOM-EN.pdf


This policy will be reviewed by 31 March 2019.

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Working Conditions Policy

Equality Policy Statement

Chambers and members of chambers, in relation to their professional practice and the administration of chambers, 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, and the affairs of chambers are conducted in a manner which is fair and equitable for all barristers and pupils.

Scope of Policy

Whitestone Chambers Working Conditions policy incorporates policies on Harassment, Reasonable Adjustments, Parental and Adoption Leave, and Flexible Working (Appendices 1-4).

Implementation and Monitoring

Whitestone Chambers Equality and Diversity Officer is Christopher Loxton. Chambers has a written plan for the implementation of its equality policy.

In addition, chambers regularly surveys, monitors and reviews information about diversity within chambers. Chambers’ Diversity Data Officer is Christopher Loxton.

Recruitment and Selection

Whitestone Chambers does not discriminate unlawfully on grounds of sex, race, disability, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, marriage and civil partnership, religion or belief, or age, in accordance with our Equality Policy Statement. We will also make reasonable adjustments for disabled candidates, and if you believe that a reasonable adjustment should be made, you are encouraged to communicate this to the Head of Chambers or to the Equality and Diversity Officer.

Subject to the need for any reasonable adjustments for disabled candidates, fair and objective selection criteria are applied in all applications for mini-pupillage, internship, pupillage or tenancy.

Readers are also referred to the Whitestone Pupillage Policy for further information.

Fair Access to Work and the Allocation of Unassigned Work

The affairs of chambers are conducted in a manner which is fair and equitable to all members of chambers and pupils, including – but not limited to – the fair distribution of work amongst pupils and members of chambers.

Harassment

Whitestone Chambers is committed to providing work environment in which everyone is treated equally and with respect. We take very seriously, and do not tolerate, any form of unwanted conduct relating to age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation which has the aim or effect of violating a person’s dignity, or which creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that person. Any person experiencing or witnessing such behaviour has a right to complain and should refer to the Whitestone Harassment Policies, at Appendix One.

Complaints and Grievances

Complaints of harassment may be raised informally with Jerome Wilcox, with the Head of Chambers, or with any other senior member of chambers. Other informal complaints may be made to the Head of Chambers or to the Head of Legal Operations. Formal complaints under this policy should be made under the Whitestone Grievance Procedure/Policy.

Appendix One: Whitestone Chamber’s Harassment Policy

  1. Whitestone Chambers is committed to providing a work environment in which all individuals, clients and the public are treated with dignity and respect. Whitestone is determined to promote a work environment in which everyone is treated equally and with dignity and can flourish.
  2. Harassment in any form will not be tolerated at Whitestone Chambers. Harassment includes any unwanted conduct related to sex, race, disability, gender re-assignment, religion or belief, sexual orientation or age. Such behaviour may take many forms including:
    • Conduct which is unwanted by the recipient and perceived as hostile or threatening;
    • Conduct which gives rise to a hostile or threatening work environment;
    • Conduct which creates an atmosphere in which it is feared that rejection or submissions will be used as a basis for decisions which have an impact on the recipient at work such as an allocation of work or tenancy decision.
  3. The following are examples of types of behaviour which may amount to harassment:
    • Physical or sexual assault;
    • Requests for sexual favours in return for career advancement;
    • Unnecessary physical contact;
    • Exclusion from social networks and activities or other forms of isolation;
    • Bullying;
    • Compromising suggestions or invitations;
    • Suggestive remarks or looks;
    • Display of offensive materials, including on a computer screen;
    • Tasteless jokes or verbal abuse, including any sent by email;
    • Offensive remarks or ridicule;
    • Dealing inappropriately or inadequately with complaints of harassment.
  4. Harassment is unlawful conduct under the Equality Act 2010. In addition to the above unwanted conduct, it can arise where a person engages in any kind of unwanted sexual behaviour (or gender re-assignment or sex related behaviour).
  5. Complaints of harassment may be raised informally in the first instance with the Equality and Diversity Officer Christopher Loxton, with the Head of Chambers or another senior member of chambers, who will agree an appropriate response. Formal complaints should be made under the Whitestone Grievance Procedures.
  6. Harassment is misconduct for employees or a breach of the Bar Code of Conduct for barristers. Allegations of harassment will be dealt with as a disciplinary matter.
  7. Chambers are committed to ensuring that no-one who makes an allegation of harassment in good faith should be subjected to any detriment as a result. Any victimisation of a complainant, witness or anyone else involved in the investigation of a complaint will be viewed as a disciplinary matter.
  8. A copy of this policy is provided to all those for whom chambers constitutes a working environment, including members of chambers, pupils, squatters, clerks or other employees, temporary workers, those who provide services to chambers such as contract cleaners, accountants and IT consultants, and mini-pupils and work experience students.
  9. This policy is reviewed every two years. This policy will be reviewed in October 2020.

Appendix Two: Whitestone Chamber’s Reasonable Adjustments Policy

Chambers are committed to making reasonable adjustments to remove or reduce substantial disadvantage for disabled people working within chambers or receiving legal services within chambers, and this policy is implemented to achieve that aim. This policy covers all employees of chambers, barristers, clerks, pupils, mini-pupils, interns and visitors to chambers.

This policy is circulated to all members, staff, pupils and those who are required to read and understand it.

  1. For the purposes of this policy the definition of disability follows that set out in section 6 of the Equality Act 2010. A person is therefore disabled if s/he has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his/her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. “Substantial” means more than minor or trivial and “long-term” means likely to last 12 months or more.
  2. This policy does not provide an exhaustive list of the reasonable adjustments that chambers will make for staff, barristers, pupils or visitors, however examples of the types of adjustment may be made, where reasonable, are:
    • The provision of information in alternative formats (e.g. large print);
    • Paid leave for disabled employees of chambers;
    • The provision of auxiliary aids;
    • The provision of accessible conference room facilities
    • The provision of a reader or interpreter.
  3. Staff or barristers with specific requirement should make requests to the Head of Chambers, for reasonable adjustment decisions. All requests for reasonable adjustments will be considered on a case by case basis with the advice and assistance of chambers’ Equality and Diversity Officer and where it is not possible to make the adjustment requested the Head of Chambers, the Head of Legal Operations or the Equality and Diversity Officer will discuss alternatives with the applicant.
  4. Head of Chambers is responsible for considering whether or not disabled staff, barristers or pupils requires assistance during an emergency evacuation and if so whether or not a personal emergency evacuation plan is required for the individuals/s concerned. If so, the plan will be developed in partnership with the individual concerned in order to ensure that adjustments to the emergency evacuation procedure may be made.
  5. Barristers are responsible for considering reasonable adjustment requests for their visitors. They are also responsible for anticipating any likely reasonable adjustments that will need to be made for visitors whom they know to be disabled and are likely to require assistance. Visitor requests for specific reasonable adjustments may be made by contacting the Head of Legal Operations Robert Pidgeon.
  6. In no circumstances will Whitestone Chambers pass on the cost of a reasonable adjustment to a disabled person.
  7. This policy is reviewed every two years. This policy will be reviewed in October 2020.

Appendix Three: Whitestone Chamber’s Parental Leave Policy

“Parental leave” refers to leave taken by the main carer of a child following birth or adoption. This could be the mother, father or adoptive parent of either sex.

It is the aim of this policy to:

  • Encourage members following parental leave to return to chambers and continue to build successful practices;
  • Prevent discrimination on grounds of parental responsibility;
  • Encourage and support members taking time off following the birth or adoption of a child without suffering financial hardship;
  • Comply with the requirements of the Code of Conduct and accompanying Guidelines.

This policy is circulated to all members, Head of Legal Operations and staff, all of whom are required to read and understand the policy and to understand their role in relation to the policy.

  1. Every member of chambers is entitled to return to chambers within a period of one year after giving birth or adopting a child for whom they are the primary carer.
  2. A member of chambers taking a period of parental leave is entitled to 6 months’ free of chambers rent and expenses.
  3. Members of chambers are required to notify chambers management and administration of their intention to take a period of parental or adoption leave not less than 3 months before the commencement of the period of leave indicating the estimate commencement date and likely date of return.
  4. 4. If a member wishes to take more than 6 months’ rent free parental or adoption leave s/he should notify chambers’ management and Head of Legal Operations at least 4 weeks before the end of that period stating the estimated date on which s/he intends to return.
  5. If a member wishes to take leave for longer than 12 months, this should be arranged with Chambers management.
  6. If a member is absent from chambers for more than 12 months without agreeing an extension with chambers management, his/her automatic right to return to chambers ceases unless such absence is due to consecutive births.
  7. Where membership ceases by virtue of the provisions in paragraph 6, a member can re-apply to chambers in the usual way.
  8. A member on parental leave is encouraged to maintain contact with chambers.
  9. Head of chambers will ensure that the member is:
    • Offered opportunities to do appropriate work if this is requested;
    • Invited to training events, social occasions, marketing events and chambers meetings;
    • Consulted on any significant issues affecting the practice of chambers; and
    • Receives assistance with the re-establishment of their practice on return to work, including (where requested) the arrangement of a “practice meeting” with the relevant clerk within two weeks before the member returns to work.
  10. Informal working arrangements during a period of parental leave do not affect a member’s entitlement to the six month period free of rent, provided that the Head of Chambers is kept informed of the arrangements by the member of chambers and is satisfied that the level of work being undertaken does not constitute a return to practice.
  11. It is the policy of Whitestone to enable parents to work reduced hours on return from a period of parental or adoption leave. This should be discussed with chambers’ management and administration. Members are also referred to Whitestone Chambers’ Flexible Working Policy.
  12. Any member who wishes to make a complaint regarding a breach of this policy should in the first instance contact chambers’ Equality and Diversity Officer, Christopher Loxton.
  13. This policy is reviewed every two years. This policy will be reviewed in October 2020.

Appendix Four: Whitestone Chamber’s Flexible Working Policy

The aim of this policy is to set out the internal approach of Whitestone Chambers in relation to the entitlement of any member to manage his or her practice under a flexible working arrangement.

  1. A “flexible working arrangement” means that an individual has agreed with chambers that s/he intends to work in such a way so as to enable the individual to manage their family or other responsibilities, or any disability, and to remain in practice. Family responsibilities include caring responsibilities for older, young or disabled dependants or relatives.
  2. Every member of chambers is entitled to practice under a flexible working arrangement. It is the aim of this policy to encourage members of chambers to remain in, or to develop, a successful practice notwithstanding the fact that their own personal circumstances may render it impractical or undesirable for them to practice at the Bar full-time, or to attend chambers on a regular basis.
  3. This policy does not outline every way in which a flexible working arrangement may be achieved, but these may include:
    • Working on a part-time basis on specified days
    • Working on a part-time basis by way of flexible hours
    • Taking a career break of up to 12 months
    • By working from home (i.e. a largely paperwork based practice)
  4. A member of chambers wishing to work under a flexible working arrangement shall notify the Head of Chambers in writing, giving as much notice as possible, and in any event not less than one month before the proposed commencement date of such an arrangement. It is the responsible of the member who intends to practice under a flexible working arrangement to ensure that the practical arrangements with chambers are agreed and are noted in writing before any period of flexible working commences.
  5. A member of chambers practising under a flexible working arrangement shall be required to pay the standard monthly rent, unless another monthly rent is agreed on a case-by-case basis.
  6. The Head of Chambers will ensure that a member of chambers practising under a flexible working arrangement is offered the same opportunities to attend training events, social occasions, marketing events and chambers’ meetings as if he or she were working full time.
  7. Members of chambers wishing to take a career break of up to one year for reasons other than parental leave shall notify the Head of Chambers in writing of their intention to do so and the reason for such career break. Members wishing to take a career break for the purpose of parental leave should refer to Whitestone’s Parental Leave Policy.
  8. This policy is circulated to all members of chambers and administration who are required to read and understand its contents, and to understand their individual role and responsibilities in relation to it.
  9. Any complaints in relation to this policy should be made to Christopher Loxton, the Equality and Diversity Officer.
  10. This policy is reviewed every two years. This policy will be reviewed in October 2020.
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HEALTH AND SAFETY GUIDELINES

Health and Safety Policy Statement

Whitestone Chambers (henceforth “Chambers”) and its members fully accept the obligations placed upon it by Acts of Parliament covering health and safety. Chambers requires its Head of Chambers to ensure that the following policy is implemented and to report annually on its effectiveness.

This policy has been prepared and published under the requirements of Health and Safety at Work legislation.

The purpose of this policy is to establish general standards for health and safety at work and to distribute responsibility for their achievement to all members of Chambers through normal management processes.

Management Responsibilities


Head of Chambers

Head of Chambers has overall responsibility for the implementation of the Chambers’ policy. This individual is responsible for ensuring that the policy is widely communicated and that its effectiveness is monitored.

Safety Officer

The Safety Officer is a nominated member of Chambers responsible for co-ordinating effective health and safety policies and controls across the set.

The Safety Officer is responsible for:

  • the production, maintenance and application of the Chambers’ policy;
  • monitoring and reporting on the effectiveness of the policy;
  • the provision of general advice about the implication of the law; and
  • the identification of health and safety training needs.

Health and Safety Management Process

Chambers believes that consideration of the health, safety and welfare of staff is an integral part of the management process. The provision of the Health and Safety at Work Act, associated Codes of Practice and EU Directives will be adopted as required standards within Chambers.

Chambers requires those responsible for the Policy to approach health and safety in a systematic way, by identifying hazards and problems, planning improvements, taking executive action and monitoring results so that most of health and safety needs will be met as part of day-to-day management, although many health and safety problems can be rectified at little additional cost.

For major additional expenditure, cases of need will be submitted by members to Head of Chambers.

If unpredictable health and safety issues arise during the year, Head of Chambers must assess the degree of risk, in deciding the necessary resources and actions to commit to addressing these issues.

Health, Safety and Welfare Guidelines

It is Chambers’ policy to require the Safety Officer to produce appropriate health and safety policies or guidelines, which should embody the minimum standards for health and safety.

It shall be the responsibility of Head of Chambers to bring to the attention of all members the provisions of the guidelines, and to consult with appropriate Health and Safety Representatives about the updating of these guidelines. The model contents of a guideline are:

  • regulations governing the work of the Chambers;
  • clear reference to safe methods of working;
  • information about immediate matters of health and safety concern, such as fire drills, fire exits, first aid;
  • the role and identity of the Safety Officer;
  • accident reporting procedures;
  • departmental safety rules;
  • fire procedures; and
  • policies agreed by the Chambers.

Identification of Health and Safety Hazards – Annual Audit and Regular Risk Assessments

It is Chambers policy of the Company to require a thorough annual examination of health and safety performance. The technique to be adopted for such examinations will be the ‘Safety Audit’. The Audit requires review of:

  • standards laid down in the policy;
  • relevant regulations;
  • environmental factors;
  • methods of work;
  • contingency plans; and
  • recording and provision of information about accidents and hazards and the assessment of risk.

The information obtained by the Audit will be used to form the basis of the plan for the Chambers for the following year.

The responsibility for ensuring that audit activity is carried out as part of this policy rests with the Head of Chambers and will be carried out by the Safety Officer.

It is the Chambers’ responsibility to ensure that any deficiencies highlighted in the Audit are dealt with as speedily as possible.

Chambers has a continual responsibility for the elimination of hazards to maintain a safe working environment and will also be expected to carry out regular risk assessments in line with the Health and Safety Executive Guidelines. That is, by following these 5 steps:

  • identify the hazards;
  • decide who might be harmed and how;
  • evaluate the risks and decide on precautions;
  • record the findings and implement the precautions [See Appendix 1]; and
  • review the assessment and update when necessary.

Training

Health and Safety training shall be incorporated within annual training programmes, as part of the development of a systematic training plan to ensure the competency of all members of Chambers. Health and Safety training needs will, therefore, be identified and planned for in the same manner as other training needs.

Areas to be given special priority are:

  • training for Head of Chambers and the Safety Officer, to equip them with an understanding of their responsibilities under this policy;
  • training for all members of Chambers to acquaint them with the main provisions of the law and its practical implication, the main features of this policy and key safety rules; and
  • induction and in-service training for staff at all levels to acquaint them fully with new requirements and hazards.

Location of Equipment

Chambers will display its Health and Safety law poster in the premises.

The first-aid box and accident box are located in an easily accessible place.

Records, Statistics and Monitoring

Chambers will operate systems for recording, analysis and presentation of information about accidents, hazard situations and untoward occurrences.

Advice on systems will be provided by the Safety Officer, in conjunction, where appropriate, with specialist advisory bodies, for example local Environmental Health Departments.

Information obtained from the analysis of accident statistics must be acted upon and, where necessary, bids for additional expenditure made to Head of Chambers.

Reports to the Health and Safety Executive

The responsibility for meeting the requirements of the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1985 to the Health and Safety Executive, shall rest with Head of Chambers as delegated to the Safety Officer.

Specialist Advisory Bodies

Certain bodies and the individual members of those bodies, have always had a Health and Safety role, most notably, the Health & Safety Executive, or local Environmental Health Departments. If further specialist advice is required, this may be obtained by Managers from expert individuals or bodies outside of Chambers.

First Aid

It is the policy of the Company to make provision for First Aid and the training of ‘First Aiders’ in accordance with the First Aid Regulations (1982). The Safety Officer is responsible for ensuring the Regulations are implemented and for identifying training needs.

Fire

Training

The Head of Chambers is responsible for ensuring that the staff receive adequate fire training, and that nominated fire officers are designated in all Chambers’ premises.

Fire Officer

In addition, Chambers will nominate a Fire Officer (this may be the Safety Officer or someone external to the Company) to:

  • report and advise on the standard of fire safety in Chambers’ premises and the standard of fire training of its members;
  • undertake overall responsibility for fire training.
  • assist in the investigation of all fires in the Chambers’ premises and to submit reports of such incidents.

Procedure

The following procedures are in place to ensure high standards of fire safety.

  • Fire risk assessments have been undertaken and are reviewed regularly. However, other reviews will occur if there are changes that will impact on them. These may include alterations to the premises or new work processes.
  • Fire risk assessments are carried out by the Safety Officer.
  • The fire evacuation procedure will be practised at least twice per year. A record will be kept of the date and the time taken to evacuate the buildings
  • Training will be provided, as necessary, to members of Chambers.
  • All new members of staff and temporary employees will be given induction training on how to raise the alarm and the available escape routes. Regular members of Chambers will be given annual refresher training.
  • All escape routes shall be clearly signed and kept free from obstructions at all times.
  • Fire extinguishers will be serviced and maintained annually by a suitable Contractor. If any member of Chambers notices defective or missing equipment they must report it to the Safety Officer.
  • Alarms are checked every 6 months by a suitable contractor and tested regularly.
  • All visitors must be logged into the Visitors Book in the admin offices on arrival on site.

Please see the Fire Safety Management files for all records of checks, certificates and remedial works.

Emergency Evacuation Plan

If you discover a fire:

  • raise the alarm immediately by activating the nearest Fire Alarm Call Point
  • evacuate immediately using the nearest available fire exit.
  • do not stop to pick up any personal possessions.
  • the last person out of a room should ensure that the door is shut.
  • once outside, inform the Safety Officer as to the location of the fire and call the Fire Brigade.
  • the assembly point is in the car park in front of the entrance to Chambers.
  • If you hear the fire alarm:

  • leave the building immediately using the nearest available fire exit.
  • report to the assembly point. If you are with a visitor, ensure they accompany you.

Lifting and Handling

The Safety Officer is responsible for informing staff of safe lifting techniques and will identify specific training needs.

Computer Installations and Visual Display Units

All new computer installations must adhere to the British Standard Specifications and comply with the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992.

Health and Safety and the Individual Member of Chambers

The Health and Safety at Work Act requires each member of Chambers “to take reasonable care for the Health and Safety of himself and of other persons who may be affected by their acts and omissions” and co-operate with management to enable management to carry out their responsibilities under the Act. All members of Chambers have equal responsibility with the Company for Health and Safety at Work.

The refusal of any member of Chambers to meet their obligations will be regarded as a matter to be dealt with by Head of Chambers. In normal circumstances counselling of a member of Chambers should be sufficient. With a continuing problem, or where a member of Chambers the Chambers’ Disciplinary Procedure.

Third Party Individuals Working on Chambers’ Premises

Persons working in Chambers’ premises who are employed by other organisations are expected to follow Chambers’ Health and Safety Policies with regards to their own personal safety (and that of other parties such as the public if appropriate) and their method of work. This responsibility will be included in contracts or working arrangements. Similarly, seconded Chambers’ employees working in other host premises will be expected to follow the host employers Health and Safety Policy.

Visitors and Members of the Public

Chambers wishes to ensure that as far as is reasonably practicable, the Health, Safety and Welfare of visitors to Chambers establishments will be of the highest standard.

Any member of Chambers who notices persons acting in a way which would endanger other members, should normally inform Head of Chambers or the Safety Officer. If the danger is immediate, common sense must be used to give warning, call for assistance or give aid as necessary. It is equally important not to over-react to a situation.

Contractors

Chambers wishes to ensure that as far as is reasonably practicable, the Health, Safety and Welfare of Contractors working in Chambers’ establishments will be of the highest standards. In addition, Contractors and their employees have an obligation so far as is reasonably practicable to ensure that all equipment, materials and premises under their control are safe and without risks to health.

Contractors must also observe Chambers’ Fire Safety Procedures set out above. These obligations will be drawn to the attention of the Contractors in the contract document issued to them. In addition, Head of Chambers will be identified in the contract as having authority to stop the work of Contractors who are placing themselves, other members, or visitors at risk. Any member of Chambers who judges there is a risk where contractors are working, should inform Head of Chambers immediately.

In tendering, Contractors will be asked to confirm they have a written Health, Safety and Welfare Policy. Head of Chambers will be responsible for monitoring the Health and Safety performance of the Contractor and the Contractor’s performance will be a factor in deciding whether to invite the Contractor to tender again.


This policy will be reviewed by 31 March 2019.

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GRIEVANCE POLICY AND PROCEDURE

Scope of procedure

This procedure covers: members of chambers; pupils of chambers; mini-pupils; chamber’s staff and applicants for positions in chambers. This procedure is applicable to any complaint, grievance or dispute including but not limited to complaints or grievances of unfair discrimination or harassment. It does not apply to complaints or grievances made by clients concerning barristers or staff.

Statement of policy

Whitestone Chambers is committed to providing a working environment in which everyone is treated with dignity, respect and fairness. No one will be victimised or suffer a detriment because they raise a complaint or grievance in good faith under this procedure.

Notification of procedure

A copy of this procedure, which includes the names of people who have been nominated to respond to formal and informal complaints and grievances, will be given to all Members, staff, pupils and mini-pupils, and a copy will be available on the Chambers intranet.

Confidentiality

Confidentiality will be maintained as far as possible and appropriate. All records of complaints and grievances, including notes of meetings, interviews, results of investigations and other relevant material will be kept confidential by Chambers except where disclosure is required by law or for disciplinary or other remedial processes.

Informal procedures

Complaints or grievances are more easily resolved if dealt with at an early stage. If you have a complaints or grievance, you are recommended in the first instance to seek the informal assistance of one of the following people who will, as far as possible, provide confidential advice and assistance:

  • For pupils: your pupil supervisor, the Head of Chambers.
  • For complaints or grievances about clerking: The Head of Legal Operations.
  • For complaints or grievances about harassment or equality and diversity: The Equality and Diversity Officer (Christopher Loxton).
  • If the complaint or grievance cannot be resolved informally, or if you prefer to use a formal procedure, the matter may be pursued by making a formal complaint.

Formal procedures

How to make a formal complaint

Formal complaints should be made in writing to the Head of Chambers.

When to make a formal complaint

A formal complaint should be made as soon as reasonably possible. Unless there are exceptional circumstances, it must be made no later than six months after the act which is being complained about, or (if informal action is taken first) within six months of the end of the informal action.

What will happen when a formal complaint is received?

The receipt of a formal complaint will be acknowledged in writing within 7 days.

Investigations into formal complaints

Unless there are good reasons for delay, investigations into alleged incidents of harassment should be completed within 14 days after the complaint was received, and investigations into other complaints or grievances should be completed within 28 days after the complaint was received.

The Head of Chambers will appoint two Members of Chambers to investigate a complaint or grievance. Where possible the Members appointed to carry out the investigations will not be directly involved in the matters complained of and will not have been involved in any informal complaint.

The investigation must be carried out fairly. If any interviews or hearings are held, the complainant and any person who is the subject of the complaint or alleged grievance may be accompanied by a colleague or friend.

Conclusion of formal complaints

At the end of the investigation, the members who have investigated the complaint or grievance will report to the Head of Chambers on their conclusions and any action they recommend be taken to rectify it. The Head of Chambers will have the final decision on what action should be taken.

If a complaint is found to have substance, appropriate steps must be taken to rectify the problem. Solutions which rely on changes to working arrangements which might unreasonably disadvantage the complainant must be avoided, because they might amount to victimisation.

The complainant will be provided with a written response on the outcome of the complaint or grievance and, where it is upheld, with a clear indication of the action Chambers will take.

Records (which are confidential, as set out above) will be retained for a period of one year and may be retained for longer if necessary.



Explanatory note:

This policy largely follows the model complaints or grievance procedures for Chambers, which was amended.
AMENDED October 2018. TO BE REVISED: October 2019.

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MINI-PUPILLAGE POLICY

General Policy

Chambers operate an equal opportunities policy in its selection of mini-pupils. No applicant for mini-pupillages will be discriminated against based on his or her race, colour, ethnic or national origin, nationality, citizenship, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, religion, political persuasion or age.

Selection Procedure

  1. At present Chambers offers a maximum of 12 unfunded mini-pupillages for a duration of 5 days each. Chambers may not offer all its mini-pupillages in any given year.
  2. Applications must be made in the following manner:
    • Applications may only be made by email and should be sent to law@whitestonechambers.com with “Mini-pupillage application” as the subject heading.
    • The email should only consist of two MS Word Document attachments: a covering letter and a C.V. No other text is required.
    • C.Vs should include all A-level and university degree exam results (including interim results in the case of incomplete degrees).
  3. At the time any application is made, the applicant must have completed their second year of a law degree or their third year of any non-law degree.
  4. Applications will be considered by one or more members of the pupillage Committees (as defined in Chambers Pupillage Policy) between 1st October and 31st October in the year of application. The selection criteria are the same as those applied to select pupils and are set out below in appendix II. Attention is drawn to the minimum requirement of a 2:1 degree, although not necessarily in law.
  5. Chambers may decide to interview applicants for mini-pupillage.
  6. All candidates who have made an application in the prescribed manner will be notified by email whether their application has been successful. Those to whom mini-pupillages have been offered will be invited to contact chambers to schedule a mini pupillage between 1st December (in the year of application) and 30th April (in the following year). Mini pupillages may only be undertaken outside this period in exceptional circumstances.

The Relationship between Mini-Pupillage and Pupillage

  1. A mini-pupillage gives us a chance to meet the mini-pupil and to get to know him or her as much as the time permits. It gives prospective applicants for pupillage an opportunity to see the type of work we do in chambers, and to make an informed choice whether to apply for a full pupillage.
  2. An unsuccessful applicant for mini-pupillage should not be deterred from making an application for pupillage. We have only a limited opportunity to assess applicants for mini-pupillage. Applications for a pupillage proper, however, are considered in some depth, and we hope to interview a significant proportion of those who apply. The fact that a candidate has not been offered a mini-pupillage does not in any way prejudice his or her chances of being offered a pupillage.



This policy will be reviewed by 31 March 2019.

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PRIVACY POLICY

Introduction

At Whitestone Chambers (as defined below ‘Chambers’), we recognise that privacy is very important to us. Chambers has created this privacy policy to show our commitment to the privacy of any personal details that you provide us when using our website. Chambers can assure you that we keep your information confidential and do not sell or rent our customers' personal information to third parties.

Please review this Privacy Policy, which sets out our policies regarding the collection, utilization and protection of the personal information of those using www.whitestonechambers.com. When using our website, you are consenting to the practices set forth in this Privacy Policy.

What we collect

Personal information includes information that is attributable to a specific individual, such as name, job title, address, telephone number, email address and other information relevant to applications.

What we do with the information we gather

We required this information to understand your needs and provide you with a better service, and for the reasons such as internal record keeping, to process application forms and recruitment enquiries, to respond to enquiries about the content of the website, we may use the information to improve our services. We may periodically send promotional email about new events or other information which we think you may find interesting using the email address which you have provided. We may use the information to customise the website according to your interests.

Security

Please note that when browsing our website, the provision of any personal information is not required unless and until you choose to contact us or for other services. Children (persons under the age of 18) are not eligible to use the website unsupervised and Chambers ask that children do not submit any personal information to us. If you are under the age of 18, you may only use this website in conjunction with and under supervision of your parents or guardians.

To contact us and related services through our website, essential personal information such as your name, your telephone number, your email address, any additional information required for contact us is required. If you are contacting us on behalf of others, please ensure that other person agrees, in advance, to the disclosure of their personal information to us.

If you contact us through website, your name and email address may be provided to another user for the sole purpose of delivering the specific information. The other user agrees to not use this information for any other purpose. The other user also agrees not to separately contact you at any time for any reason.

Chambers are committed to ensuring that your information is secure. To prevent unauthorized access or disclosure we have put in place suitable physical, electronic and managerial procedures to safeguard and secure any information we may collect online.

The third party websites

Chambers may share your personal information with certain selected Chambers partners or contain links to enable you to visit other websites of interest easily. If you opt in, these partners may use your personal information to contact you regarding related websites which they think may be of interest to you as Chambers customer.

Please note that we do not have any control over third party websites. We cannot be responsible for the protection and privacy of any information you provide whilst visiting such websites and such websites are not governed by this privacy statement. We do not sell, rent or trade your personal information to third parties.

We may contain links to other websites for which we are not responsible. By clicking on any such links, you are entering another website which will contain content and practices for which we have no responsibility. We therefore encourage you to read the privacy statements of all such sites independently as their policies may be materially different from this Privacy Policy.

Sessions and security

Generic information about your computer's connection to the Internet, called "session data", will automatically be logged. This information is anonymous and cannot be used to track your personal information. Session data consists of things such as IP address, operating system and type of browser software being used, and the activities conducted by the user while on our site. An IP address is a number that enables computers attached to the Internet, such as our web servers, to know where to send data back to the user, such as the pages of the site the user wishes to view.

We collect session data because it helps us administer our website, track correlative information and to collate statistics in relation to visitor traffic. We may use your IP address to help us diagnose problems with our server. Rest assured that this information cannot be linked to you personally.

How to use cookies

A cookie is a small file of information that is automatically stored by your browser on your computer's hard drive when you enter our website. Cookies can only identify your computer and not the individual user, by storing some basic information which will enable us to identify if you have previously visited our web site. Cookies are only read by the server that placed them, and are unable to do such things as run programs on your computer, plant viruses, or harvest your personal information. The use of cookies is very common, and we use of cookies is like that of other reputable online companies.

Any personal information that you provide us with such as your name and email address etc. is neither gathered nor stored in the cookies placed by the Chambers website and, as a result, your information will not be passed on to any third parties.

Most web browsers automatically accept cookies, but it is possible to change the options on your web browser or use certain software programs, which will enable you to control how and whether cookies will be accepted by your browser. You can disable cookies or set your browser to alert you when cookies are being sent. We support your right to block any unwanted Internet activity, especially that of unscrupulous websites, but please note that if you choose to block Chambers cookies, this may disable certain features on our website and may make it impossible to use certain services available on the website. It is possible however to block cookie activity from certain websites while permitting cookies from websites you trust, like www.whitestonechambers.com.

Google analytics

This website uses Google Analytics, a web analytics service provided by Google, Inc. (“Google”). Google Analytics uses “cookies”, which are text files placed on your computer, to help the website analyse how users use the website. The information generated by the cookie about your use of the website (including your IP address) will be transmitted to and stored by Google on servers in the United States.

Google will use this information for evaluating your use of the website, compiling reports on website activity for website operators and providing other services relating to website activity and internet usage. Google may also transfer this information to third parties where required to do so by law, or where such third parties process the information on Google's behalf. Google will not associate your IP address with any other data held by Google.

You may refuse the use of cookies by selecting the appropriate settings on your browser, however please note that if you do this you may not be able to use the full functionality of this website. By using this website, you consent to the processing of data about you by Google in the manner and for the purposes set out above.

Controlling your personal information

You should be aware that in addition to the circumstances described above, we may disclose your personal information if required to do so by law, court order, as requested by other government or law enforcement authority, or in the good faith belief that disclosure is otherwise necessary or advisable including, without limitation, to protect the rights or properties of www.whitestonechambers.com or when we have reason to believe that disclosing the information is necessary to identify, contact or bring legal action against someone who may be causing interference with our rights or properties, whether intentionally or otherwise, or when anyone else could be harmed by such activities.

You may choose to restrict the collection or use of personal information. If you have previously agreed to us using your personal information for direct marketing purposes, you may change your mind at any time by writing to or emailing us.

You may request details of personal information which we hold about you under the Data Protection Act 1998. For information on how to request this data, please visit – https://ico.org.uk/

If you believe that any information we are holding on you is incorrect or incomplete, please write to or email us as soon as possible.



This policy will be reviewed by 31 October 2019.

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DIVERSITY DATA

Whitestone Chambers (Chambers of Lawrence Power) does not discriminate unlawfully on grounds of sex, race, disability, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, marriage and civil partnership, religion or belief, or age, in accordance with our Equality and Diversity policy.

This survey of the diversity of chambers’ workforce, including barristers, pupils, clerks and administrative staff, was conducted in accordance with the Bar Standards Board’s Rules and Guidance.

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