On 22 January the Legal Services Board (LSB) published a summary report on the legal service regulators’ progress against the four diversity outcomes it introduced in 2017. The report assesses progress and summarises the LSB’s expectations for each of the regulators in 2019.
Of relevance to the IP sector – in particular patent and trade mark attorneys – is that the IP Regulation Board (IPReg) is judged to have made progress against all four of the outcomes and “appears to be aware of additional steps it can take to meet them” (sections 41-45 of the report, here). Under Outcome 3 (collaborating with others), IPReg’s support for IP Inclusive is specifically mentioned, with a reference to IPReg’s contribution to the development of our new website and the fact that it accepts our training events as CPD. Reference is also made to IPReg’s intention to improve its diversity data reporting.
We will continue to work with IPReg to ensure that the momentum gained so far continues to drive positive change for diversity and inclusion levels in the IP professions.
The LSB’s regulatory performance framework monitors the regulators’ performance against the following outcomes:
- Outcome 1: The regulator continues to build a clear and thorough understanding of the diversity profile of its regulated community (beginning at entry), how this changes over time and where greater diversity in the workforce needs to be encouraged.
- Outcome 2: The regulator uses data, evidence and intelligence about the diversity of the workforce to inform development of, and evaluate the effectiveness of, its regulatory arrangements, operational processes and other activities.
- Outcome 3: The regulator collaborates with others to encourage a diverse workforce, including sharing good practice, data collection and other relevant activities.
- Outcome 4: The regulator accounts to its stakeholders for its understanding, its achievements and plans to encourage a diverse workforce.
The framework also requires the regulators to gather data to understand the diversity profile of their regulated communities, and to use that data:
- to inform development of their regulatory activities;
- to facilitate collaboration with others to encourage a diverse workforce; and
- as part of stakeholder accountability.
Data gathering was discussed at IP Inclusive’s 2019 annual meeting, also on 22 January, and as a result we will be looking to gather some initial, informal data of our own during 2019, as well as to encourage and support our Charter signatories’ efforts to benchmark their D&I credentials. We hope to be able to collaborate with IPReg in this context, to enable all of us to identify and target areas in need of improvement.
You can read the LSB’s press release about the report here.