The SRA has announced how it will approach the Legal Service Board’s requirement for regulators to gather a more comprehensive evidence base about the diversity characteristics of those working in the legal profession.
The Legal Services Act 2007 also includes a specific regulatory objective to “encourage a strong, independent, diverse and effective legal profession”. Individual law firms will be required to offer all employees, including those who are not legally trained the opportunity to report their diversity characteristics.
Diversity characteristics that data will be collected for include:
– Job status and role
– Religion or belief
– Sexual orientation
– Socio-economic background
– Caring responsibilities
External agency Surveylab will run the exercise from July to September. The agency will be contacting authorised signatories within each firm to provide the number of employees working within the organisation. This communication will appear to have come from the SRA. Following this employees will be given the opportunity to complete anonymous individual online diversity questionnaires.
Mehrunnisa Lalani, SRA Director of Inclusion, commented:
“We appreciate this is extra effort for the regulated community, but we hope you will work with us to fulfil this requirement as it brings with it potential benefits. It will provide us with an accurate picture of the diversity profile of the legal workforce, allowing gaps to be identified over a period of time.
"Specifically, returning this data is aligned with Principle 9 in the Code of Conduct that says firms must run their business or carry out their role in the business in a way that encourages equality of opportunity and respect for diversity."
Completing the questionnaire will be confidential. Further information and questions and answers can be found on this website
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