Event pushes cash for management review

John Malpas reports

CHAMBERS are being alerted to the availability of funding to help them bring management systems up to date.

News of the funding was broken to the Chambers in Crisis workshop at the Bar Council's recent conference.

Nobody in the audience appeared aware of the cash available from training and enterprise councils (Tecs), which will fund as much as 50 per cent of a management review – a possible cash injection of around £6,000.

Details of the possible source of funding were outlined to the meeting by Central Law Training management consultant William Newbold.

The session was organised by Chris Andrews, also of Central Law Training, who said the Tec money would pay for some of the fees for a management consultant to conduct a chambers review.

But she stressed that Tecs would only agree to pay approved consultants and were extremely careful about how they spent their money.

"Law firms have been making use of this funding for two to three years, but it didn't surprise me that nobody at the session knew about it," she said. "I've got my ears close to the ground."

The Bar Council has commissioned Central Law Training to draw up practice management standards for the management of chambers.

Head of administration David Hamilton Rump said: "I think as we encourage chambers to streamline and improve their administration they could look at options like the Tec funding."

But Littleton Chambers chief executive David Douglas warned sets not to treat management reviews as a panacea.

He said there was a danger that bringing in outsiders might cause resentment unless everybody in chambers had agreed there was a need for a review which could prove expensive.

He suggested sets waited for the practice management standards to be issued so they could use them as a benchmark against which to compare their own systems.

A three-day management training programme for barristers, clerks and practice managers has been unveiled by Central Law Training. The training company was hired by the Bar Council to organise the sessions in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds and Manchester. The courses in October and November cover strategic planning, attracting and retaining clients, and financial and personnel management. They follow extremely popular sessions held in the spring. The course costs £550 plus VAT. For details ring Central Law Training on 0121 355 0900.