The Bar Standards Board (BSB) has published new rules that remove restrictions on the reporting by the profession of sexual orientation, religion and belief data.
Until now, the BSB Handbook stated 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, religion and belief can be published. The removal of this restriction will see these data treated in the same way as other diversity characteristics. This includes a requirement not to publish if there is a risk of any individuals being identified from the data. The BSB states that under no circumstances would any member of a chambers' or an entity's workforce be obliged to disclose their diversity characteristics if they do not wish to do so.
The regulator hopes that this will help to demonstrate the diversity that exists at the Bar and lead to a stronger evidence base for future diversity initiatives. BSB head of equality and access to justice, Amit Popat, said “The removal of this restriction will make disclosing aggregated and anonymous data on the sexual orientation, religion and belief of barristers easier. We hope this will help the Bar show a more accurate picture of its diversity.” The new version of the BSB Handbook can be found here.