Diversity data collection
SRA Update Issue 25 – June 2012
We will soon be starting the process of complying with the Legal Service Board's requirement for all approved regulators to gather a more comprehensive evidence base about the diversity characteristics of the legal workforce. This has in part been driven by the Legal Services Act 2007, which 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—not just those legally trained—the opportunity to report their diversity characteristics, which include job status and role as well as the following:
- Religion or belief
- Sexual orientation
- Socio-economic background
- Caring responsibilities
The exercise will start in July via Surveylab, an online survey company specialising in employee engagement and customer satisfaction measurements, working on our behalf. Surveylab will be contacting authorised signatories within each firm who will be asked to provide the number of employees working within the firm.
Employees will then be given the opportunity to complete an anonymous individual online diversity questionnaire. We think this is the easiest way for both firms and employees to engage and participate in the process.
We appreciate this is extra effort for you, but we hope you will work with us to fulfil this requirement as there are many potential benefits. It will provide us with an accurate picture of the diversity profile of the workforce we regulate, allowing gaps to be identified over a period of time.
The questionnaire will be confidential. Further information about data protection requirements can be found on the SRA's website at www.sra.org.uk/diversitydata, which includes a comprehensive Q&A for firms and for their employees.