Reporting your firm data

Firm diversity data requirements

All regulated firms have to collect, report and publish data about the diversity make-up of their workforce.

Collect diversity data from people at your firm

If you have not already collected diversity data from the people working at your firm you should start now. Read about our updated diversity questionnaire to make sure you are collecting the right data.

Report your law firm diversity data to the SRA

You can now report your firm diversity data to the SRA. We have extended the deadline for reporting your firm data, please report by 18 July 2019 by logging in to our reporting site.

If you work as an in-house solicitor or for a non-regulated organisation, this does not apply to you.

Publish a summary of your data

You should publish a summary of your firm’s diversity data in a way that does not identify anyone. Read more about publishing.

How we will use the data

We may use the information we collect from firms in the following ways:

  • to update our law firm diversity tool so you can see the make-up of law firms across the sector
  • to inform our publications or engagement with people as part of our work to promote diversity in the profession
  • in our regulatory reform work to help us monitor the diversity impact of the changes we make
  • to help us meet our public sector equality duty, for example monitoring our decision making by protected characteristics
  • to facilitate research and analysis by others
  • to meet reporting requirements to the Legal Services Board or the Ministry of Justice.

We will make sure that no-one can be identified from any data that we publish or share with others.

Read more about privacy, data and information at the SRA.

If you have any questions, please contact us.

Collecting diversity data

The diversity questionnaire

We have updated our diversity questionnaire and you can download a Microsoft Word version (DOC 6 pages, 173K) of the questionnaire to use when you collect data from the people working at your firm.

The changes we have made since 2017 include:

  • a slight change to the wording of the trans question
  • minor changes to the sexual orientation response categories
  • changes to the questions we ask about schooling and parental education
  • a new question about parental occupation.

If you have recently collected diversity data from the people working at your firm using the 2017 questionnaire, you will still be able to use this data to report in June 2019. Most of the questions remain the same and you can deal with the changes as follows:

  • the trans question is very similar so you can enter this information as if you had used the new wording
  • you can group the response you have for “gay man” with the response you have for “gay woman/ lesbian” and report them together under the new single category of “gay/ lesbian”
  • you won’t be able to enter the information you have about schooling and parental education, so select "question not asked" for these questions

Encourage your staff to complete the questionnaire

When you collect diversity data from people working at your firm, please do not make assumptions about them. Everyone should be allowed to complete the questionnaire themselves.

Although you must give people an opportunity to respond, you cannot compel anyone to provide their diversity information. However, they may want to take part if they understand they can choose 'prefer not to say' for the questions they would rather not answer.

Think about data protection before you start the collection

Before you start, you should tell people how the data will be used and who will have access to it. Make sure you comply with the data protection legislation when you collect, store and process this information.

Please also remember that the data reported to us can be seen by all authorised signatories and organisation contacts for your firm.

You may prefer to collect the data on an anonymous basis, however the information will be much more useful to you if it is linked to an individual, eg by reference to a confidential identification number. Then it can be used to monitor a range of employment activities over time, such as promotion, pay rates, or recruitment practices. People are more likely to provide information which can be traced back to them if you reassure them about confidentiality and tell them how your firm will keep their data secure.

Who should be included in the collection?

Everyone working at your firm is covered by the firm diversity data collection, not just solicitors. You should include:

  • Full-time and part-time employees.
  • Employees on maternity leave or on long term sick leave (but only if they are in contact with the firm during their absence and are willing to respond).
  • Temporary employees, those on a secondment contract, consultants or other contracted staff working with you for three months or longer.

You should not include:

  • People engaged in work which has been outsourced by the firm.
  • Barristers or other experts engaged by the firm on individual matters.
  • People who are normally based outside England and Wales.

If someone works for more than one firm, they must only complete one questionnaire. This should be for the firm where they do the majority of their work and spend most of their time.

Role categories

Everyone must be put into one of these role categories. Make sure your staff know which category they are in if you are conducting an anonymous survey.

If someone falls into more than one category, they should use the one which most accurately reflects their main role.

Please note that reference to solicitors includes Registered European Lawyers and Registered Foreign Lawyers.

Role categoryNotes
Solicitor partner (sole practitioner, member or director)Partners, members or directors who are not solicitors should be recorded in the “Managerial role” category below
Solicitor (not partners)All other practising solicitors including assistant solicitors, associates or consultants.
Other fee earning roleIncludes fee earners such as trainee solicitors, members of CILEx who are not Chartered Legal Executives (Fellows) or CILEx Practitioners and paralegals, i.e. those who are not “authorised persons”
Role directly supporting a fee earnerIncludes legal secretaries, administrators, legal assistants, and non fee earning paralegals
Managerial roleIncludes non lawyer partners, directors, or members and others such as practice managers, finance or account managers etc
IT/HR/other corporate services roleIncludes non-managerial staff working in support services - including finance or accountancy roles
BarristerPeople who are authorised by the Bar Standards Board
Chartered Legal Executive (Fellow)/CILEx PractitionerPeople who are authorised by CILEx Regulation
Licensed ConveyancerPeople who are authorised by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers
Patent or Trade Mark AttorneyPeople who are authorised by the Intellectual Property Regulation Board
Costs LawyerPeople who are authorised by the Costs Lawyer Standards Board
NotaryPeople who are authorised by the Master of the Faculties
Prefer not to say "
An "authorised person" is a person who is authorised by one of the approved regulators to carry on the relevant activity (defined by the Legal Services Act 2007). Solicitors with a current practising certificate, registered European lawyers and registered foreign lawyers are "authorised" by us.

How do I report my firm’s diversity data?

You will need to report your firm’s diversity data online. Log in using your mySRA account username and password. If you have forgotten either of these you can request them.

Who has access to the reporting site?

Only authorised signatories, organisation contacts and RF1S role holders can access the site and report their firm’s data to the SRA.

Reporting one set of data for firms which are related

You should submit one set of diversity data to cover your firm and any related firms, such as corporate partners. You can link related firms after you have logged in to the reporting site.

Organise the data by role categories

Before you begin you will need to organise your data by role category so you can enter it onto the reporting site.

Enter the number of people in each role category, then enter the data relating to these people, before moving on to the next role category.

You will also need to confirm the number of people at your firm who did not complete the diversity questionnaire.

You will be asked whether you have published this data before you are given an opportunity to review and submit.

For more detailed guidance read our user guide.

Publishing your data

What you have to do

You should publish a summary of your firm's diversity data, so long as it complies with data protection legislation.

For larger firms, your data will be more meaningful if you provide some interpretation; showing any trends and setting out any steps you are taking to promote diversity at the firm.

A much richer picture of your firm will be provided if you publish more detail, for example the gender and ethnicity breakdown of your trainees or a diversity breakdown of your new partner appointments.

You should refresh your publication each time you collect a new set of diversity data.

What about data protection?

You should not publish any diversity data in a way that might identify individuals. Therefore sole practitioners and small firms may find they cannot publish their data at all.

You do not have to include information relating to religion or belief, sexual orientation or transgender. It is good practice to publish this data, but it can be quite sensitive, so make your own decision on this.

To minimise the risk of identifying individuals you could:

  • Merge role categories to show a high level breakdown of the data, for example by partner, other fee earner and support staff.
  • Publish data across the whole firm.
  • Show the high level ethnicity categories rather than the detailed sub categories.

For more guidance about your obligations see the Code of Practice on publishing anonymous data from the Information Commissioner's Office.

Where you should publish your data

Your diversity data should be made available to your staff and externally. Most firms will choose to publish on their website, but you can use alternative or additional publication methods such as:

  • A poster in your office reception area and/or meeting rooms.
  • An article in your internal or external newsletter/bulletin.

If you are publishing on your website, you should make it easy to find and understand. This could include:

  • Having a "Diversity" link on your homepage with a specific page for diversity data.
  • Illustrating the data using clear tables, diagrams or graphics and include a summary of what it shows.
  • If you can, adding enough detail to show for example, how many of your female partners attended fee-paying schools.
  • Showcasing your approach to diversity and any initiatives you have in place.

Being open with this information gives you an opportunity to highlight your firm's commitment to diversity. This could offer a competitive advantage in promoting your firm to clients and attracting the best talent to join you.

Examples of how you might set out your data

Here are some examples of how to set out your diversity data. Please ensure that graphs and tables published online can be easily read by assistive technology.

Staff ethnic breakdown with the roles reduced to four main categories and the ethnicity categories reported at the highest level.

16-24 is 7.06%,

Gender breakdown as a percentage of all staff with the roles reduced to six categories

Gender breakdown as a percentage of all staff
Role categoryMaleFemale
Partners 6931
Solicitors5545
Other fee earners (e.g. trainees,paralegals,legal execs)4159
Role directly supporting fee earner (e.g. PAs)298
Business services – Managerial3664
Business services – Support3862

Age distribution of employees across the whole firm

16-24 is 7.06%,
Open all

We have revised the questions about schooling and parental education used to indicate social mobility and added a new one about parental occupation.

  • We have revised the wording of the sexual orientation question to bring it into line with the approach adopted by Stonewall.
  • We made minor changes to the trans question which we introduced in 2017 to help make it clearer. We considered changing the trans question to bring it into line with the approach adopted by Stonewall but found there was no consensus among various representative groups on the wording to use. We will review the position again when we collect in 2021 and take into account any future guidance from the Office for National Statistics on the matter as a trans question is likely to be included in the next census.
  • We have revised our approach to the questions which are used to measure social mobility to reflect the approach recommended by the Cabinet Office published in June 2018. We did not include all the questions suggested by the Cabinet Office, only those we felt would provide useful information and be proportionate in the context of our diversity questionnaire.

Most of the questions remain the same and you can deal with the changes as follows:

  • the trans question is very similar so you can enter this information as if you had used the new wording
  • you can group the response you have for "gay man" with the responses you have for "gay woman/ lesbian" and report them together under the new single category of "gay/ lesbian"
  • you won’t be able to enter the information you have about schooling and parental education, so select "question not asked" for these questions

This should be for the firm where they do the majority of their work and spend most of their time. If they work for a number of firms on an equal basis, they should complete the questionnaire for the one they have been working for the longest.

It does not matter whether they are paid through invoices or through the payroll. Consultants should be included within the appropriate role category as if they were employees.

For example:

  • Principle 9 which states: 'you must run your business or carry out your role in the business in a way that encourages equality of opportunity and respect for diversity'.
  • Principle 7 which states: 'you must comply with your legal and regulatory obligations and deal with your regulators and ombudsmen in an open, timely and co-operative manner'.

It is also one of the mandatory outcomes in chapter two of the Code of Conduct in the SRA Handbook which requires you "to have appropriate arrangements in place to ensure that you monitor, report and where appropriate, publish workforce diversity data".