Almost 1,500 firms have failed to meet a revised deadline for submitting data on diversity, it has emerged.
The Gazette understands that 14% of firms – a total of 1,483 – had still not responded to the SRA’s request by the middle of last week.
The regulator had granted an extended deadline of 26 February after one-fifth of firms did not submit their data correctly by the original January deadline.
According to the chief executive’s report ahead of the SRA board meeting today [Wednesday], ‘a final reminder’ has gone out to firms who have not complied.
Disciplinary action including a fine of up to £2,000 is still available to the SRA, but it is unlikely the punishment for non-compliance will be strict. A spokesman for the SRA said its response will be ‘proportionate and appropriate’.
SRA chief executive Paul Philip (pictured) said the information will support the regulator to build a more ‘complete picture’ of the legal profession and understand how decisions can impact different groups.
The exercise was a requirement of the Legal Services Board, and Philip said the two organisations will work together to understand if they can ‘reduce the burden’ it has placed on firms.
The data, on aspects such as race, gender and sexuality, is being collated and should be published by the end of spring, with firms also required in due course to publish their own individual data.
The LSB has identified a lack of data on the diversity make-up of the legal workforce, and inadequate evaluation of diversity initiatives, as key priorities to address.