The first legal services entities to be licensed by the Bar Standards Board will be announced in 'a few days' time', the bar regulator said today.

The regulator began accepting applications from barrister-led organisations from the start of this year. The Gazette understands that it will submit its application to become a licensing body for alternative business structures after the Easter break. 

In its business plan for 2015-16, published today, the BSB states that becoming a licensing authority for ABSs is one of five 'development priorities' for 2015-16.

Others are:

- the 'future bar training' programme of reform to education and training.

- revising governance structures

- improving risk-assessment so as to target regulatory efforts accordingly

- enhancing knowledge of consumers. 

The plan also reveals that it will study whether extra regulatory protections are needed for immigration clients.

The BSB's director general, Vanessa Davies (pictured), said: 'Those seeking immigration and asylum advice are often especially vulnerable – particularly now that recent legislative changes are showing their full impact. So this year we are especially keen to see whether we need to provide any further regulatory protection for immigration clients.'

A review of the regulator's approach to public access is also listed. 

The BSB's budget for regulating 15,700 barristers in England and Wales will be £5.44m in 2015-16.