BSB seeks views on removing the restriction on reporting sexual orientation and religion and belief data

At the request of the Bar Council, the Bar Standards Board (BSB) is seeking views on whether to remove certain restrictions on the reporting by the profession of sexual orientation and religion and belief data.

The current rule in the BSB Handbook states that every member of a chambers or a BSB regulated entity’s workforce must give their consent before aggregated and anonymised data on sexual orientation and religion and belief can be published. The consultation asks whether this is still appropriate and whether they should be treated in the same way as other diversity characteristics, where the only requirement is not to publish where there is a risk of any individuals affected being identified from the data. Under no circumstances would any member of a chambers or an entity be obliged to disclose their diversity monitoring data to a chambers or entity.

The consultation paper considers the potential benefits, disbenefits and the implementation challenges of the proposed change for individual barristers and for the Bar as a whole.

BSB Director of Strategy and Policy Ewen MacLeod said: “The Bar Council has asked us to review these publishing restrictions and we are keen to make sure that our rules on disclosure and transparency are both fit for purpose and encourage diversity at the Bar. We are interested to hear what people think about all of the issues raised in this consultation paper, in particular, whether this proposal could promote publication rates and contribute to improving diversity at the Bar.”

The rule change would require chambers and entities to amend their diversity data policies.

You can read the full consultation here.

The closing date for this consultation is 5 July 2018.

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