Diversity data: Unlocking better regulation

How do we use diversity data to help develop an understanding of our regulated members, the issues they face and the support they need

The diversity data provided by our members through the customer relationship management (CRM) portal is helping to make a real difference to our decision-making. Providing us with full, accurate and up-to-date diversity data is vital in helping us to develop a better understanding of our regulated members, the issues they face and ultimately what targeted improvements we can make as the regulator, to support each member’s professional journey.

How do we use your data?

Our recent 2022 practising certificate fee consultation provides a clear example of how your data makes an impact on our decision-making.

Using the diversity information from the consultation and analysing it against the CRM data, we were able to see the potential for a disproportionate impact of a fee increase on specific groups of members.

We analysed all responses and found concerns had been raised indicating that an increase to the practising fee in 2022 could cause financial challenges. This was partly because of the after-effects of the pandemic, which continue to be felt by many CILEX Lawyers. We also identified that the proposed fee increase could potentially have a differential impact on some protected groups. Having listened and seen the data evidence, we were able to review our budget and mitigate the proposed fee increase for 2022.

Unfortunately, we were unable to form a full picture, as some respondents had chosen to select the `prefer not to say’ CRM response. We would like to reassure members that our CRM data is fully confidential and encourage all members to complete the equality, diversity and inclusion question responses fully. This will help us to understand the needs of members and enhance our decision-making when proposing future changes, ensuring our decisions do not pose disproportionate challenges to our diverse membership body.

Third all-member biennial diversity data collection

Our third full data collection since 2017 took place in April 2021, when we took a snapshot of diversity data from the CRM system. With 15,260 responses, this was the largest data collection to date, up from 4,910 in 2017 and 8,346 in 2019. The collection provided an extremely useful, in-depth insight into the current make-up of our regulated members and helped us to identify where potential issues lie.

The report highlighted a positive response, with data analysis showing that CILEX membership continues to provide an alternative route into legal careers for individuals from less affluent and less traditional backgrounds than often associated with the legal profession.

Inequality, diversity and inclusion barriers identified in the 2017 and 2019 data collections still persist however, with analysis of the data showing:

  • Male CILEX members progressing their careers further than females;
  • Non-white individuals not gaining seniority in the same way as white members;
  • A significant decrease in members in the youngest age group (16-24) since 2017;
  • Unequal progression among non-white members. Black individuals appear to be appreciably less likely to progress than Asian members;
  • Members with a disability have reduced from 7% in 2017 to 4.4%. This may be the effect of looking at a greater set of data, with increased ‘prefer not to say’ responses for disability; and
  • A possible indication that certain ethnicities and individuals educated outside the UK might be using the CILEX route to become a solicitor.

Many indications from our analysis of the diversity data align with the feedback that more than 2,000 members gave to this year’s CILEX membership survey. In particular, the point relating to members reporting that a contingent within the legal profession look down on CILEX lawyers, is echoed in feedback from members in our 2019 diversity data collection.

To underpin our equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) work to date, we are in the process of putting together an EDI strategy for 2022/2024, which we plan to launch in the first quarter of 2022.


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