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SRA Diversity Reporting Deadline looms

As we approach the deadline for firms to report their diversity data to the regulator, we thought a reminder right about now might be timely, as in our day-to-day cpm21 interactions with Solicitors firms, we have been surprised about how many don’t realise this needs to be done, or that submissions have to be completed by the 30th of July 2021.

As a reminder what this is about, firms may recall that the SRA moved to a diversity data collection exercise every other year, with the latest one falling in 2021. It may be that the requirements aren’t that clear, because this is also the first year that the SRA has required individual solicitors to report their own diversity through MySRA, presumably as a requirement since the SRA Standards and Regulations 2019 allowed for solicitors to work as freelancers for the first time.

So, in summary, yes individual solicitors had to report their individual diversity, and the submission date for that has passed. But firms also have to submit their overall firm data, and this must be done via MySRA by the 30th of July 2021.

The process for this would be that the firm issues diversity questionnaires to all personnel with a request to complete them and return them. They then need to be collated by the various role types so that entering them on MySRA is straightforward. Once that is done, then firms should use the link that the SRA will have emailed to their authorised signatory and submit the data via MySRA.

Also bear in mind that the SRA require firms to publish this data on their own websites, subject to some exemptions such as whether it is easy to identify a given individual from the data. The reasons for not publishing are shown on the MySRA website after the data has been submitted, and prior to an acknowledgement that the process has been completed.

A final point is that firms should remember that the SRA uses this data to make conclusions on the diversity of those firms and individuals that are regulated by them. If individuals decide not to return a diversity questionnaire, or to answer all questions “prefer not to say” then the sample data may not be sufficient to make any meaningful conclusions. It would therefore be more useful to the profession as a whole that personnel are encouraged to complete the questionnaire in as much detail as possible, however, it is not a mandatory requirement for them to do so, and they cannot be forced to.

And there you have it. If your firm hasn’t submitted it’s data yet, then the clock is ticking so get it done by the 30th of July.

Cpm21 – Always on your side.