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BIALL Professional Skills Framework

In 2015, a group of legal information professionals met to discuss the feasibility of drawing up a professional skills framework for the profession. This document (Members only Password protected area), produced in consultation with BIALL Council and colleagues across the sectors covered by BIALL, is the result:

BIALL Professional Skills Framework

The idea behind the framework is to provide a detailed overview of the skills and experience which legal information professionals need to carry out their role.

It is designed to supplement, rather than replace, other relevant frameworks of skills, competencies and ethics, such as the CILIP Professional Knowledge and Skills Base (‘PKSB’) and documents which individual workplaces will provide.

It is designed as a skills framework, rather than a competencies framework. Some of what appears in the framework document could possibly be categorised as competencies, but ‘skills framework’ emphasises our aim, wherever possible, to focus on concrete, measurable skills rather than more abstract concepts.

How will this be used?

Our intention is that the skills framework will be able to assist legal information professionals at all stages of their careers, with the principal uses being:

  • As a benchmarking tool for personal professional development;
  • To assist managers with appraisals;
  • To assist managers with recruitment.

Benchmarking tool for personal professional development

This is the key intention behind the framework, allowing BIALL members to benchmark their own skills and experience. BIALL members will be able to point to their own skills and knowledge and also identify training needs. We also feel it should be particularly relevant to information professionals wanting to progress in their career.

We stress that this document is not prescriptive and not every information post will require the full range of skills. Equally, organisations will probably have differing views on which skills are required at which level for certain topics. It is up to managers to determine which levels will be appropriate for each role.

Assist managers with performance reviews

We hope that the framework will be helpful in providing managers with a useful tool to assist in performance reviews, providing a transparent set of criteria for assessing skills and knowledge and identifying training needs.

Assist managers with recruitment

This framework should assist managers when recruiting new staff. It is all too easy to take for granted the range of a legal information professional’s role and the skills and experience which many have built up. This document should assist in drawing up a business case for new staff, by demonstrating what is required. It should also assist managers in drawing up detailed job descriptions, making the recruitment more transparent.

Working group

Karen Brown (Dentons)

Dunstan Speight (Berwin Leighton Paisner)

Peter Wilson (Slaughter & May)

Diane Miller (Gowling WLG)

Christine Child (Fountain Court Chambers)

Sarah Froggatt (RPC)

Ashley Lardner (The Medical Defence Union)


June 2016