14 October 2019

Reminder: Update for the New Authorisations Framework – Are you a Pupillage Training Organisation (PTO)?

What is the Authorisation Framework?

Our 2017 policy statement on Bar training sets out a limited number of permissible training pathways to becoming a barrister. An Authorisation Framework (AF) has been developed to give effect to these policies. Specifically, the AF will all require intending Authorised Education and Training Organisations (AETOs)[1] to demonstrate how their proposals for training will both:

  1. Offer one of the permitted training routes underpinned by the four core FBT principles (Flexibility, Accessibility, Affordability and High Standards); and
  2. Enable prospective barristers to meet the requirements of the Professional Statement[2] appropriate to the component of training being delivered.

What do chambers, BSB entities and other organisations that train pupils need to do to become authorised as an AETO?

In August 2018, we wrote to all chambers, BSB entities and other existing Pupillage Training Organisations to confirm whether they want to continue or to begin to provide pupillage. Those who do will be required to apply for authorisation under the new Authorisation Framework. If your chambers or organisation has not received this email, please complete the  online survey. It should only take a few minutes to complete. The deadline for return of the survey has been extended to the end of 2018.

The new authorisation process will take place during 2019. In our previous communication, we had said that we would contact you by the end of November 2018 with full details of how to apply for authorisation as an AETO. Due to the extension of the survey deadline, we are now intending to contact all prospective AETOs in early 2019.

If you already provide pupillage, you can continue to do so. This will not affect current pupils, nor your ability to advertise for new pupils at present. 

What will the application process involve?

Becoming an AETO should be a straightforward process. It will require you to submit details of your pupillage training programme, setting out how you will ensure that those whom you train satisfy the Threshold Standard and Competences of the BSB's Professional Statement, as well as details of how your training will meet the criteria of flexibility, accessibility, affordability and sustaining high standards. Guidance and support will be available to help you to provide us with the information that we will need to authorise your AETO.

We want to test the authorisation process with some willing volunteers to ensure that applying to be an AETO really is as simple as we intend, so your support would be very welcome with this. Please contact us if you are interested in helping.

Will we have to renew our authorisation every year?

No.  This will be a one-off process. AETOs will have to notify the BSB of any material change in their pupillage arrangements. The focus will then be on supervision of pupillage, which will be risk-based and targeted only where it is necessary to ensure standards are being met.

If you have any questions about the questionnaire or about becoming an AETO, please get in touch with us via authorisations@barstandardsboard.org.uk.

[1] The term AETOs includes organisations such as vocational providers, pupillage training organisations and approved training organisations.

[2] /media/1787559/bsb_professional_statement_and_competences_2016.pdf