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Probate diversity data collection and reporting


Published: 23 Jul 2019 Update History

Find out more about the diversity reporting requirements for probate accredited firms. The next reporting deadline is April 2023.

Stronger culture, better performance, deeper customer insight

The Legal Services Board (LSB) requires ICAEW to collect and publish data on the diversity of staff within the firms we regulate.

As well as being a regulatory requirement, the context for collecting this data is interesting and it can provide a competitive advantage. Recent initiatives such as gender pay gap reporting in the UK, and the widespread reporting of sexual harassment in the film industry, have pushed the agenda forward significantly.‘Delivering through diversity’ by McKinsey&Company reports that ‘Gender and ethnic diversity are clearly correlated with profitability, but women and minorities remain underrepresented’. LinkedIn’s report, ‘Global Recruiting Trends 2018’ backs this up, ‘diversity is directly tied to company culture and financial performance. LinkedIn found the top reasons companies focus on diversity are to improve culture (78%), to improve company performance (62%) and to better represent customers (49%).

The Law Society’s Business case for equality, diversity, inclusion within the legal profession sets out why law firms should think about diversity and inclusion:

  • It’s the law: legislation and regulation.
  • The client base is changing. With the demographics of the UK rapidly changing, diversity is essential for firms wanting to attract the best people and meet clients’ needs.
  • The profile of the profession is changing.
  • Flexible and responsive workforce.
  • Benefits of good diversity and inclusion policies include:
    • meeting your legal and regulatory equality duties;
    • access to a wider recruitment pool;
    • retaining staff.

What does my firm need to do?

All probate accredited firms are required to collect, report and publish data on the diversity of all employees (not just those in the probate team) every two years. Your firm will need to:

  1. Ensure every member of staff completes the survey as close to 31 March 2023 as possible.
  2. Send the aggregated results by 30 April 2023. The results, along with a short interpretative paragraph, should be submitted to regulatorysupport@icaew.com.
  3. Publish the aggregated results on your website by 31 May 2023. This should include a summary paragraph about the results.

Please note late submissions may result in a regulatory penalty from the ICAEW Probate Committee.

ICAEW will only keep the aggregated results for three years.

You can also watch a recording of our 2023 Probate Diversity Survey webinar to find out what your firm needs to do and how it should collect its data.

How to collect the data

ICAEW is pleased to confirm that once again we are providing our probate accredited firms with free access to an online tool via our supply partner Riliance (an Access Group company). The tool will help you collect, collate and anonymise your 2023 survey responses. To help with accurate reporting, staff should complete the probate diversity questionnaire as close to 31 March 2023 as possible. ICAEW probate accredited firms should create their 2023 survey via the Riliance survey tool.

Who should complete the questionnaire?

The survey link should be sent to all staff including temporary staff and not just the probate team.

Please also share the questionnaire with employees who are not currently in the workplace eg, those on maternity leave, long-term sick leave (assuming they are in contact with the office and wish to be contacted).

How should your firm publish the data?

Your firm’s data should be published on your website in a format of your choice. If your firm does not have a website, you must publish the data on some documentation eg as a paragraph in a letter of engagement or in advertising materials. The paragraph should provide a high level summary of the results.

Please be sensitive to the possibility that, if the data is collected from relatively small data-sets, individual staff members may be identifiable. The Equalities and Human Rights Commission states it is important not to breach workers’ or applicants’ confidentiality, or reveal anything which might enable someone to work out information about another person which was provided in confidence.

If the anonymity of individual members of staff may be compromised, you should adapt the information you publish accordingly, for example, by only publishing the less sensitive data.

2023 Probate diversity survey FAQs

Access a list of frequently asked questions around the subject of diversity reporting in probate including requirements, statutory and social relevance and how ICAEW handles sensitivity of data.

ICAEW diversity reports

As with previous surveys, we’ll publish a summary report which your firm can use to benchmark your firm against other firms to:

  • Understand the profile of your current teams and plan for future recruitment.
  • Identity opportunities: has your firm got the right people in place to reflect current and future client profiles?

Further information

If you have any questions about the collection of diversity data, please contact our Technical Advisory team on +44 (0)1908 248 250 or via webchat.