Workforce diversity data

We are committed to the promotion of an independent, strong, diverse and effective legal profession. Firms regulated by the SRA have to collect, report and publish data about the diversity make-up of their workforce.

In 2011, the Legal Services Board (LSB) published its decision paper on increasing diversity and social mobility in the legal workforce. This requires approved regulators, such as the SRA, to ensure that a comprehensive evidence base about the diversity characteristics of the legal workforce is available.

The requirement is consistent with Principle 9 of the Handbook which obliges firms to encourage equality of opportunity and respect for diversity. It is also consistent with the outcomes in Chapter 2 of the Code of Conduct relating to the firm's dealings with clients, staff and others. Workforce diversity monitoring is one of the indicative behaviours set out in Chapter 2.

All firms had to report their workforce diversity data by 31 January 2014. There were over 1,000 firms that provided no data or incomplete data, and they have been contacted by the SRA, with the result that nearly 99.5 per cent of all firms have now collected and reported their workforce data. The approach of individual and supportive contact with firms has been positive, and has been an opportunity to discuss compliance with Principle 9 and further steps firms may wish to consider.

Firms that have still failed to collect and report the data are in breach of Principle 7 which states that firms must comply with their legal and regulation obligations and deal with the SRA in an open, timely and co-operative manner. Enforcement action will be considered in relation to those firms. We have published a report on the recent exercise. Over time the data will provide comprehensive information about the make-up of the profession. It will also help measure the effectiveness of actions to improve diversity.

Read or download the report

Print page to PDF