Law Society of Scotland publishes equality strategy
The Law Society of Scotland has published an agenda-setting equality and diversity strategy for the organisation and wider profession during the next three years.
The new plan follows two previous ambitious and progressive three-year strategies on equality, and the Society intends follow up on the results of its key research from the previous strategy on the experiences of ethnic minority solicitors, and bullying and harassment in the legal profession, by working on the development of practical solutions to the issues identified.
In developing the new strategy the Society has taken account of the specific requirements needed to comply with the Equality Act 2010 for its public functions, but is to go beyond these and pursue a policy of seeking to comply with the requirements of the Act in relation to all its activities, policies and procedures, whether public or internal.
Neil Stevenson, director of representation and support at the Society, said: “We believe in speaking openly and publicly about our equality work, and we have presented at a number of conferences and events, including this year’s Stonewall national conference, which allows us to share our experiences of implementing an equality strategy and highlight both the successes and the challenges still to be faced.
“We firmly believe that open debate, a willingness to learn from others, and transparency about strengths and issues will progress the equality agenda further for all organisations. This means taking a firm stance on equality issues and how to tackle them through legislation. The Society’s law reform team worked on detailed responses and given evidence to both the Scottish and UK Parliaments on proposed legislation and public consultations, such as the Equality Act 2010, and the Reform of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
“The Society is committed to building on the work we’ve done so far and we will continue to promote and develop best practice in meeting the needs of a diverse legal profession – it’s good business sense after all to develop talent irrespective of a person’s background.
“We know there is more still to be done, and our programme of planned work shows honest reflection on the real issues still facing us, including; the gender pay gap in the profession, tackling bullying and harassment in the legal sector and the challenges faced by disabled people in accessing legal services. We have sets targets and plan to monitor impact, continue to liaise with groups and individuals to learn what we can do better, and work to ensure that equality and diversity are meaningfully considered in all aspects of our work.”