Charles Russell institutes audit of diversity policy

Charles Russell institutes audit of diversity policy” />
Charles Russell has announced the launch of an independent audit of its internal diversity policy. The audit is due to start in the next month.

While the firm currently has a policy that stipulates it must strive to promote equality, it will begin an audit to ensure the policy is effective and is being implemented fully.

Charles Russell partner Grant Howell said: “It used to be enough to say that you had a policy, but that doesn’t cut it anymore. We’re very proud of the diversity of the firm, but we want to prove this to our clients.”

The audit, which will be carried out by Astar Management Consultant, will require new managing partner James Holder to discuss the firm’s current policy and explain how this is reflected in its team of staff.

Astar will then host a series of focus groups and informal discussions with partners and other employees in order to ascertain how effective and relevant the policy is firmwide.

While other firms such as Pinsent Masons consult external bodies to develop and advance internal policies, an independent audit is unusual in the legal profession.

Director of HR at Pinsents Jonathan Bond said: “We consult the pressure group Stonewall, which has been instrumental in the development of our policy.”

Bond added that firms discuss how strategies are devised and share ideas on how best to promote gender and ethnic equality.

Howell said: “I’m not aware of other firms embarking on this kind of audit, but we think it will be really valuable for us.

“I think this could be something that firms will start to do once they’ve seen others in the legal market take this route.”