SRA whittles down diversity data non-compliers to hardcore 100


SRA

SRA: remaining firms to face enforcement action

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has cut the number of law firms failing to hand over data on the diversity of their staff from 1,106 to 108.

The regulator said it had made it “very clear” to the remaining firms that they would face enforcement action. The SRA published a survey based on the data earlier this month.

This year was the first time firms were asked to provide diversity data, rather than individuals. By mid-January fewer than half had provided the information, though the exercise began the previous July.

By the original deadline of 31 January 2014, 79% of firms had complied, a figure which rose to 86% by the extended deadline of 25 February 2014.

An SRA spokesman said: “Throughout this annual exercise we have issued several reminders to firms on their duty to report their workforce diversity data to us.

“We have contacted the firms who did not comply by the deadline and have been engaging with them by providing assistance on how the survey should be completed.

“Of the 1,106 who had failed to comply with the requirement to provide the diversity data, the number with outstanding data is now 108. We anticipate that via constructive engagement with firms, the number that will require enforcement action will fall below 100 firms.”

In a separate development, the Judicial Appointments Commission has published its 10th set of statistics on 18 selection exercises carried out between October last year and March 2014.

The results showed a strong performance by women, who made up just under half of those recommended for appointment, but disappointing results from BAME candidates, who accounted for only 7% of those appointed to legal posts.

Three more women judges entered the High Court, bringing the total to a record of 21, and women made up of 54% of appointments as district judges, compared to only 44% of applications. Solicitors did less well than usual, taking 34% of legal posts.

Figures for religious belief and sexual orientation were included in the figures for the first time. The results are broadly similar to those reported by the SRA’s diversity survey for partners in law firms.

Just over half of those appointed as judges identified themselves as Christian, with 24% saying they had no religion. Around 4% were Jewish, 2% Hindu and 2% Muslim. Gay, lesbian or bisexual judges accounted for 2% of the total.

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