Anyone can now go directly to a barrister without having to trouble or instruct a solicitor. The barrister's role remains essentially the same as if they are approached by a commercial solicitor or any other intermediary. The barrister is permitted to deliver advice on legal status rights and your prospects and will, if asked, draft and send documents for you to present to the court. When the matters come to trial they can also represent you in court, tribunals or mediations.
They can negotiate on your behalf, attend employment meetings, or investigative interviews at hearings amomgst other things. However there are limits on the types of work they can do and you have to be aware that not all barristers accept public access work.