The SRA’s latest SQE press release caught my eye. It starts like this:
Our proposals to introduce a centralised assessment for would-be solicitors could lead to improved diversity in the profession and increased social mobility, a new report says.
An independent study published by the Bridge Group considers our plans for the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) and the impact it could have on diversity in the profession. The report said: “The proposals are highly likely to increase the number, and broaden the range, of training providers in the market, and provoke new models of training including online provision.
What the report makes clear, though, is this:
This report is neither a review of the proposed SQE reforms, nor an equality and diversity impact assessment; these areas are to be covered by the wider consultation process being led by the Regulator.
The report suggests the need for all to work together on diversity and education, to build trust and shared solutions. It also suggests the significant risks and work the SRA has to do to give the proposals a chance of improving things. Leading with spin is not the way to do this. Leading with spin is a way to build on the considerable cynicism that exists about the SRAs proposals. The report is, in fact, more of a recognition of the considerable risks entailed in the proposals. Better to accentuate that understanding, if the regulator is to produce proposals that people will and can work with.
Postscript: one of the fullest reviews of the report his here on Legal Futures.