In 2012, the SRA facilitated the collection and publication of this data from all of the Firms it regulates in England & Wales. In 2013, the responsibility for this task has been passed to individual Firms themselves and will form part of the COLP’s responsibilities.
SRA guidance was released at the end of April 2013 that advises practices to start planning their diversity data collection process immediately. An online survey from the SRA will not be available this year, so the COLP must make their own arrangements to collect and manage their own data.
There is help available and we strongly urge your COLP to consider the following:
Review and familiarise yourself with the SRA guidance for practices and the Microsoft Word version of the diversity questionnaire available for you to adapt for use in your Firm.
- Review the updated Practice Note available from the Law Society.
- Data collection, reporting and publishing involves the collection of sensitive personal data, so you must consider its security and comply at all times with Data Protection requirements – again help and guidance is available.
- You must report your data online to the SRA by 31 January 2014. Whilst that may be a long way off, you need to have arrangements in place to collect the data in good time to meet the deadline.
- Your data will only be accepted in a format consistent with the SRA diversity questionnaire so it is vital you review and comply with that guidance.
- You must publish a summary of your workforce diversity data. This can be on your practice’s website or, if there isn’t a website you should display a notice in your Reception informing visitors that a copy of your Workforce Diversity Data is available upon request.
- Contact Legal Eye for more help and support.
The SRA has stated an intention that the arrangements set out in 2013 will be consistent for three years so you should be able to retain the process for that period and the SRA will begin to identify trends.
Firms will be expected to remind, encourage and motivate staff to participate and include their data, rather than opt for “the prefer not to say” options.
So don’t leave this task too late – start your preaprations now!
Legal Eye Ltd