The Bar Council

Company overview

The Bar Council represents barristers in England and Wales. It promotes the Bar's high-quality specialist advocacy and advisory services, fair access to justice for all, the highest standards of ethics, equality and diversity across the profession.

There are around 3,000 employed barristers registered with the Bar Council, bringing the practising and active number of members to approximately 16,000.

Solution summary

  • smartmembership – to manage and monitor their member activity and subscriptions
  • smartconnector – for integration with other systems including Preside CMS, dotmailer and SagePay
  • smartevents – to manage their events registrations
  • MyBar members portal
  • smartentry app

The Bar Council challenge

A new CRM system was needed to ultimately provide Bar with a single source of the truth for all their members’ information. Their old CRM system failed to tell them simple information, such as how many barristers they had in total. Their data was held in silos which created a lot of inefficiencies.

The Bar Council solution 

We implemented a new CRM for them and worked with the developers of Bar’s website to create a member portal called MyBar.

MyBar allows barristers to manage their details which is all pulled through from the integrated CRM system we built for them.

smartimpact quickly grasped and understood the way our complex business works. They took the time to dig deep into our rules, and the obligations placed on Barristers and challenged what we thought we needed from the project.
Andrew Wylie, Head of Project Management Office, The Bar Council

The results

Their investment in technology has also allowed them to benefit from a huge cost saving. For example, their basic requirements between 2011 and 2017 was £213,000 per annum. In 2018, it was £65,000 giving them an overall cost saving of £148,000 compared to previous years.

Our new system has also resulted in us benefitting from a huge cost saving on authorisation – £148,000 in 2018. The amount we invested in this digital transformation project with smartimpact is also less than we used to spend in one year, which is an outstanding achievement.

Andrew Wylie, Head of Project Management Office, The Bar Council

Their investment also gave them the opportunity to try new things and find more creative ways of doing things. For example, one of the deliverables they’ve been most impressed with to date was the smartentry app.

Over recent years, courts have increased their security drastically and as a result, Barristers were becoming frustrated with the long queues and time-consuming processes (think airport security style) which only added extra time to the amount they were spending in court on a day-to-day basis anyway.

The smartentry app is an important way for The Bar Council to support barristers by saving their valuable time whilst ensuring that HMCTS can still be sure to keep courts secure. 

Jo Cook, Head of Delivery, smartimpact

As a result, the courts ran a pilot ‘Professional Access Scheme’ – allowing barristers direct entrance to courts without the need to be searched. We were able to work with Bar to respond to the needs of this pilot by creating a mobile app which could hold each Barrister’s ID, which they could show to security staff to fast-track them into court.

Overall, the pilot had a massive and positive impact on their members and court staff alike. The smartentry app received extremely positive feedback from members and saved 511 hours of barristers’ time just within the pilot – it’s easy to imagine the value of that time.  This outstanding return on investment has moved the pilot to full deployment throughout 2019 – a great result for all.

Want to find out more?

Get in touch with us and we'll be more than happy to walk you through this case study in more detail.

Ready for your own digital transformation? 

Wherever you are in your digital transformation, ask us any questions you may have and we'll be in touch. 

Join us at our next event

We run tons of events in collaboration with our partners (many of which are free to attend!).

Take a look to find out where we'll be and when. We look forward to seeing you there!