Diversity tool Q&A

Questions about using the diversity tool

Q. What is the purpose of the diversity tool?

A.The diversity tool is an interactive and easy way to view diversity information about firms by size, work type and location. You can compare this with the diversity of your own firm to see if certain groups of people are under represented. With this information, you can also investigate if there are any unintentional barriers for these groups in getting a job or a promotion at your firm.

Q. How do I access my firm's diversity data?

A. Only your firm’s Organisation Contacts and Authorised Signatories can access the information via our diversity data reporting pages. To protect confidentiality, the diversity data from an individual firm cannot be displayed within the tool.

Q. Can I download data from the diversity tool to create my own comparison tables or charts?

A. Yes, you can download it into an Excel spreadsheet. You can then add your firm's data and use this to create a table or chart displaying how your firm compares with others.

Q. Where can I find general population statistics for my region?

A. To compare the diversity of your staff with the general population in your region, you can use data from the 2011 Census which you get from the Office for National Statistics.

Q. How accurate is the data in the tool?

A. The tool contains the best estimate we can make of the diversity of the firms we regulate using the information we have. Where fewer people provided their data, for example in response to the question about sexual orientation, our estimate is not as precise as for other characteristics such as gender or age, where we had a good response rate. When you view a characteristic that could be less accurate, a warning will be displayed on the screen. You can also view our table of confidence intervals, which shows how confident we are in each figure.

Q. The diversity tool shows information about confidence intervals, what does this mean?

A. A confidence interval tells you how reliable the data is. For example, 34% with a confidence interval of 1%, means that there is a 95% probability that the accurate figure lies between 33% or 35%.


Q. Does the diversity tool cover the whole solicitor population?

A. No. The data only covers people working in law firms in England and Wales, it does not cover solicitors working in private practice or other employed roles.

Q. What are the detailed definitions of the categories you have used?

A. This information is available by clicking on the "Show help" tab underneath the drop down box used to select the options.

Q. When using the work type categories, how much work does a firm have to do of that type to be classed in a particular category?

A. Firms which have said they do 50% or more of a particular work type will fall within that category.

Q. Why do some of the charts contain percentages that add up to 101% or 99% rather than 100%?

A. We have rounded all our percentages to the nearest 1% and sometimes these rounded figures may add not add up to 100% exactly.

Q. How have you categorised firms with offices in more than one region?

A. Firms with branches in more than one area are recorded under the region where the firm's head office is located.

Statistical modelling

The data has been statistically modelled, so we can give our best estimate of diversity in the legal sector.

As with most surveys, the information given to us includes gaps where people did not respond, or gave the response 'prefer not to say'.

In order to improve the quality of the data and 'fill in the gaps', we used a proven statistical method called 'bootstrap re-sampling' to estimate what it would look like if we had a complete response or nobody had said 'prefer not to say'.

Comparing the diversity figures in the original response data and those in the tool, we can see the effects that the statistical modelling has had. For example, the tool shows a slightly larger proportion of BAME solicitors working in law firms than the original survey response data. This is because the pattern of 'prefer not to say' responses was not equally spread across the population. Confidence intervals show how confident we are in the accuracy of each figure. This involves selecting a sample of raw data taken from all firms which had a high rate of response. This sample is subjected to repeated testing and is adjusted to ensure that it is representative of all the different categories against which the data can be filtered (location, work type and size by number of partners and number of branches).

The original response data is available to view in a table format.

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