The Law Society has published a practice note to help firms and sole practitioners comply with regulatory new requirements to collect data on the diversity of their workforce.
Data to be reported include job status and role as well as age, gender, disability, ethnicity, religion or belief, sexual orientation, socio-economic background and caring responsibilities. Data will be collected by an online survey. Firms will be contacted by the Solicitors Regulation Authority to confirm numbers of employees and to distribute login details for an anonymous online questionnaire.
The practice note sets out the context for the SRA requirement and its implications, including on data protection issues.
Mehrunnisa Lalani, the SRA's director of inclusion, said: '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.'
Law Society president Lucy Scott-Moncrieff said: 'The Law Society's Diversity and Inclusion Charter already provides guidance and support on how to collect, monitor, store and publish data. The new requirement will provide for consistent collection of diversity data across the profession, helping practices to review the make up of their workforces and to identify opportunities to develop greater diversity.
'It also will help the Law Society to meet better the needs of our diverse membership and to promote greater diversity in the profession.'