SRA report shows small improvement in staff diversity
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The SRA's annual equality report has this year shown a small improvement in the diversity of its own employees. Black and minority ethnic (BME) staff now comprise 15% of the SRA's workforce, up slightly from 13% last year, and the percentage of male staff has also increased from 29% to 33%.
However, the SRA's separate diversity monitoring report for 2012 revealed bad news. The report, which examined diversity across the legal profession, shows that BME lawyers are still disproportionately represented in what the SRA has called its "regulatory decisions", which means that BME lawyers are disproportionately subjected to more complaints and disciplinary procedures than their white colleagues. An independent comparative case review, led by Professor Gus John, has been commissioned to find out why and suggest remedies.
Antony Townsend, the SRA's chief executive, said: "In the face of enormous change, both internally and externally, I believe these results show that we have made encouraging progress, both as an employer and a regulator. Being based in Birmingham means that we can now draw on a wider pool of talent and can therefore build on increasing our diversity profile. In addition, the Law Society Group, of which we are part, has appointed a new equality and diversity adviser who will help us focus more clearly on how we can deliver further improvements for staff during 2013 and beyond."
He added: "We will continue to build upon what we have achieved to date, and work on those areas where further improvement is needed. We will continue to address any potential disproportionality and explore new ways to engage positively with the profession. The work currently being undertaken by Gus John will provide us with further, valuable insight in this respect."