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Probate diversity data collection and reporting

The following page provides details of the reporting requirements for probate accredited firms. The next reporting deadline will be 2021. We will send all probate accredited firms further information about the requirements for 2021 reporting in October 2020.

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 recent 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 Benefits Diversity and inclusion in law firms: the business case 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 can mean:
    • 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 employers (not just those in the probate team) every two years. Your firm will need to:

  1. Ensure every member of staff completes the Probate diversity questionnaire template [NB. to access this tool in Internet Explorer click on the link and choose 'Save' or 'Save as', in Chrome click on the link and you can choose 'Download', 'Save' or 'Save as'], not just those working with probate clients. This should be as close to reporting date as possible (in 2019 this was 31 March 2019). Please note this template may change for 2021 – further details will be provided in October 2020.
  2. Publish the aggregated results on your website by the xx/xx/2021 (the date for 2021 will be confirmed. In 2019 it was 12 April 2019). This should include a summary paragraph about the results.
  3. Send the aggregated results using this template (we must not receive people’s individual responses) to ICAEW (the date for 2021 will be confirmed. In 2019 it was by 30 April 2019). The results should be submitted to regulatorysupport@icaew.com. Please note late submissions may result in a regulatory penalty from the ICAEW Probate Committee. ICAEW will only keep these aggregated results for three years.

How to collect the data

The process of collecting the data can be managed in-house or through a third party. We recommend you provide information to your staff about how the data will be collected and published to reassure them that their anonymity will be preserved.

Managing the process in-house

If you are managing the process in-house, we have developed a Probate diversity questionnaire template [NB. to access this tool in Internet Explorer click on the link and choose 'Save' or 'Save as', in Chrome click on the link and you can choose 'Download', 'Save' or 'Save as']. Please ensure you add the appropriate data protection statement for your firm. Please note this template may change for 2021 – further details will be provided in October 2020.

Collecting the data using a third party

There are companies including Riliance that can support you with collecting the data from your employees. Please contact them directly to discuss your firm’s requirements.

If you choose to use a third party supplier, please ensure you use the same questions that are contained in the Probate diversity questionnaire template [NB. to access this tool in Internet Explorer click on the link and choose 'Save' or 'Save as', in Chrome click on the link and you can choose 'Download', 'Save' or 'Save as']. Please note this template may change for 2021 – further details will be provided in October 2020.

Who should complete the questionnaire?

All permanent and temporary employees should ideally complete the questionnaire, although it is optional to do so. In the Probate diversity questionnaire template [NB. to access this tool in Internet Explorer click on the link and choose 'Save' or 'Save as', in Chrome click on the link and you can choose 'Download', 'Save' or 'Save as']we have included a ‘prefer not to say’ option for every question. The questionnaire should be sent to all 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 our firm publish this data?

Your firm’s data should be published on your firm’s 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.

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?