Client: Bar Standards Board

CPD for barristers: evaluation


The Bar Standards Board introduced a new outcomes-focused CPD scheme for the bar in 2017, designed to be less prescriptive and more flexible. In 2019, the BSB asked Spinnaker and IRN Research to conduct research to develop their understanding of the effectiveness of the new CPD scheme based on levels of compliance and barristers’ perceptions.



First, we conducted a literature review to understand the academic research around e-learning theories and models centred around learning outcomes and reflection. We looked at CPD in the legal sector and in other sectors and IRN brought an expert in CPD on to the project planning to help drive the questions in the fieldwork. 

We conducted an online survey obtaining responses from 566 barristers followed by 30 follow-up interviews with a range of practitioners across practice areas and regions. With the emerging themes from the research we convened small discussion groups in chambers to further refine the outcomes and insight.  


Spinnaker and IRN delivered a comprehensive report to the Bar Standards Board setting out the research findings: ease of completing CPD, information and guidance used, effectiveness and usefulness of changes made (71% liked the greater flexibility), time spent on the scheme, learning and development, other insights in order to drive decision making. The final report can be viewed at: