Silver Diversity Mark for Liberty IT

Cathy Donnelly, Senior Director of Talent at Liberty IT and Willie Hamilton Managing Director of Liberty IT – awarded Silver Diversity Mark

Belfast-based Liberty IT has been ranked third in the ‘Best Workplaces for Women 2021’ listing by Great Place to Work UK and has been awarded a Silver Diversity Mark.

The digital innovation firm is one of only seven organisations in Northern Ireland to achieve the Silver Diversity Mark accreditation, for its commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Diversity Mark awarded this accolade to Liberty IT following the company’s work across a number of programmes, resulting in an increased number of females at entry and executive level; and enhanced awareness and learning through the roll out of their Pride Allyship sessions and company-wide Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Programme.

Willie Hamilton, Managing Director of Liberty IT said: “At Liberty IT our employees are at the heart of everything we do. We aspire to be a company where everyone feels included and that they belong, one that values diversity, not only in our words but in our actions, bringing our values to life every day.

“We are incredibly proud to have been awarded a Silver Diversity Mark and it’s testament to the work we have been carrying out for a number of years to ensure we lead the way in diversity and inclusion in the workplace. It’s recognition for our people, our Employee Resource Groups and leaders for all the great work they have completed, and continue to carry out, in our journey for the promotion of equitable opportunities for all.”

Cathy Donnelly, Senior Director of Talent added: “DEI is core within Liberty IT’s culture and we’re delighted to be recognised with two award wins in this area. As we are well aware, Northern Ireland has an under-representation of women working in STEM. However, at Liberty IT we are working hard to address this issue and to encourage female applications from entry level roles and above, as well as developing our highly-talented female engineers.

“We have introduced a number of initiatives including a female only scholarship, female representation on all interview panels and recruitment centres and have launched Mentoring Circles to help give female engineers at all levels the tools to realise and achieve their goals and aspirations,” she continued.

“We have lots of exciting things to come in the weeks and months ahead which will further reinforce our dedication to gender equality. This includes launching a Family Toolkit, which offers individual coaching for team members returning from extended leave, transitioning back to work.”

Huge congratulations to all the team at Liberty IT!

If you have not yet joined Diversity Mark on your company’s Diversity and Inclusion journey please reach out to emma@diversity-mark-ni.co.uk to discuss the benefits and process.

You can CLICK HERE to join Diversity Mark and work towards achieving the Diversity Mark accreditation.

Version 1 NI Awarded the Diversity Mark Bronze Accreditation

Huge congratulations to all the team Version 1 for being awarded the Bronze Diversity Mark Accreditation. The Diversity Mark Accreditation is a ‘Mark of Progress’ that publicly declares commitment to building more diverse and inclusive workplaces to benefit all employees.

Jonas Cella, co-chair of the Version 1 NI commented:

“Receiving the Bronze Diversity Mark is an important milestone for us. It shows we are on the right track to have a diverse and inclusive workplace and makes Version 1 a great place to work in Northern Ireland. At Version 1 diversity is a fact, but inclusion is a choice we make every day”

Christine White, Head of Diversity Mark added:

“We are delighted to recognise Version 1 for their commitment to Diversity by awarding them the Bronze Diversity Mark accreditation.   

Our independent assessment panel commended Version 1 on a reflective application looking at a variety of specific and strategic interventions which will have the potential to collectively shape a truly inclusive culture and begin to address the gender balance across all levels of their business.

 We congratulate everyone at Version 1 on this achievement and look forward to working with them on their Diversity journey over the next number of years.”

If you have not yet joined Diversity Mark on your company’s Diversity and Inclusion journey please reach out to emma@diversity-mark-ni.co.uk to discuss the benefits and process.

You can CLICK HERE to join Diversity Mark and work towards achieving the Diversity Mark accreditation.

Prestige Insurance Holdings awarded Bronze Diversity Mark Accreditation for championing gender diversity

Huge congratulations to Diversity Mark signatory Prestige Insurance Holdings, a Group of insurance businesses delivering specialist products and services in Broking, Underwriting and Insurtech – on being awarded the Bronze Diversity Mark Accreditation for their commitment to championing gender diversity and inclusion.

The Diversity Mark is awarded to companies following an independent assessment process which ensures they have reached the required standard of commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion.  It is a ‘Mark of Progress’ that publicly declares that a company is committed to building a more diverse and inclusive workplace to benefit all employees.

The award has been granted to all businesses within the Group including AbbeyAutolinePrestige Underwriting Services, Prestige Underwriting Services (Ireland), Covernet, Stroll, Customer Claims Assist Limited, Octane Underwriting Services and Reliable Vehicle Solutions.

Trevor Shaw, Group CEO shared his pride in all the businesses for the key role they have played in helping the Group receive the Bronze Diversity Mark.

At Prestige Insurance Holdings we have always been fully committed to achieving gender diversity and inclusion in our workplace and we are delighted as a Group of businesses to achieve this recognition. 

“As well as gender diversity, we also aspire to enhance diversity and inclusion in other areas of organisational policy and practice including disability, race and ethnicity, LGBTQ+, age diversity and social mobility, so we regard this Bronze Diversity Mark as a first step on our journey.

“Throughout all businesses within the Group we are proud to have both male and female professionals in senior positions, playing a key role in the growth of each respective company and the Group as a whole.  Developing and maintaining a diverse workforce is championed at all levels throughout Prestige Insurance Holdings.

“Our Values define what Prestige Insurance Holdings believes in and how, as a core part of our strategic foundation, our people strive to deliver. Our pledge to “Respect and Integrity” highlights our commitment to treating people with kindness, dignity and professionalism, building trust through responsible actions and honest relationships.  

“Achieving the Bronze Accreditation reaffirms this ethos and we look forward to working together as a Group of businesses to achieve more in the future, including development of a Group-wide Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and Policy.”

The Diversity Mark accreditation process and application framework enables organisations to identify and take action on any institutional barriers facing minorities and underrepresented groups that can impact on their career progression. 

The Diversity Mark Assessment Panel provide expert annual independent feedback to assist organisations in building workplace environments in which all individuals feel valued, are treated fairly and respectfully and have equal access to opportunities.

Christine White, Head of Business at Diversity Mark added: 

“We are delighted to recognise Prestige Insurance Holdings Limited by awarding them the Bronze Diversity Mark Accreditation. Our independent assessment panel welcomed their well-constructed and carefully thought through submission showing an interconnectedness between each of their targets representing a high level of ambition to enhance gender diversity across the group. We congratulate everyone at Prestige on this achievement and we look forward to working with them as they develop their diversity initiatives over the coming years.”

If you have not yet joined Diversity Mark on your company’s Diversity and Inclusion journey please reach out to emma@diversity-mark-ni.co.uk to discuss the benefits and process.

You can CLICK HERE to join Diversity Mark and work towards achieving the Diversity Mark accreditation.

Diversity Mark Accreditation for Belfast City Council marks public sector first

Belfast City Council has become the first NI public sector organisation to be awarded a Silver Diversity Mark Accreditation in recognition of its commitment to promoting equality and diversity within its workforce. 

Launched in 2017, Diversity Mark is the leading authority in diversity in the UK and Ireland. The accreditation recognises an organisation’s commitment to embracing diversity and creating an inclusive culture for all staff. 

Councillor Áine Groogan, Chair of Belfast City Council’s Women’s Steering Group, said:

“Council is committed to increasing diversity within our own workforce to ensure it is reflective of all the communities we serve, so that we are best placed to deliver for all of our citizens.   

“We’re delighted to be awarded the Silver Diversity Mark as recognition of the work that has taken place to date, and our commitments for the future.” 

Councillor Groogan added: 

“A key focus for us is working towards a positive gender balance at all levels within Council.  Since achieving the Bronze level Diversity Mark in 2018, Council has achieved an equal gender balance at our most senior officer level. In the autumn we will be launching a recruitment academy, encouraging applications from women, people with disabilities and other under-represented groups for roles within our frontline teams, working to keep our local communities clean and green.” 

Belfast City Council’s Gender Action Plan for 2021-2024 was ratified at June’s Council meeting. The plan sets out how, over the next three years, Council will continue to focus on promoting gender equality in the council, and also within the community, in the economy and in the city. 

The Silver Diversity Mark accreditation also recognises Council’s commitment to developing and implementing a Minority and Ethnic Inclusion Plan by February 2022.  The action plan will address how Belfast City Council can better communicate and engage with and support existing minority ethnic staff, as well as identify what it can do to attract a more diverse applicant pool. 

Council has also approved a three-year LGBT+ Action Plan, for 2021-2024.  The plan focuses on supporting LGBT+ staff, as well raising awareness of LGBT+ issues amongst the wider workforce and increased community activity. 

Christine White, Head of Diversity Mark added

“We congratulate everyone at Belfast City Council on this very significant achievement, being the first public sector organisation to have reached the standard for this highly robust accreditation. Our independent assessment panel commended the Council for its strong commitment to diversity and inclusion and clear measurable progress made since joining Diversity Mark in 2018.  We look forward to continuing to work with Belfast City Council as they progress their Equality and Diversity plans with significant ambition across a range of equality dimensions which will positively impact the lives of many people within their organisation and the wider community.” 

Huge congratulations once again to all the team at Belfast City Council.

If you have not yet joined Diversity Mark on your company’s Diversity and Inclusion journey please reach out to emma@diversity-mark-ni.co.uk to discuss the benefits and process.

You can CLICK HERE to join Diversity Mark and work towards achieving the Diversity Mark accreditation.

New Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service announced

Bronze Diversity Mark accredited NI Civil Service have announced Jayne Brady is to be the new Head of the NI Civil Service. (NICS)

Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill confirmed the appointment after the successful completion of the NICS recruitment process for the new Head of the Civil Service (HOCS).

Jayne is currently the Digital Innovation Commissioner within Belfast City Council and will succeed Jenny Pyper, who has been serving as Interim HOCS since December 2020.

First Minister Arlene Foster said:

“This is a hugely significant appointment for the Northern Ireland Civil Service and for the institutions of government. As leader of some 23,000 civil servants and chief policy adviser to the Executive, the HOCS role is central to the development and delivery of public services. Jayne is an experienced and highly skilled leader who has much to bring to the role.

“After a tumultuous year for the public sector, as society has grappled with the impacts of the pandemic, there is a need now for a renewed focus on rebuilding and delivering for the people of Northern Ireland. Jayne will play a crucial part in guiding the Executive and leading the NICS to support delivery and improved outcomes for the public. “I wish Jayne every success as she prepares to undertake this important role and offer my thanks to Jenny Pyper who has carried out the duties of Interim HOCS with dedication and conviction.” 

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said:

“I welcome the appointment of Jayne Brady as the new Head of the Civil Service. 

“Jayne brings extensive experience and skills to this critical leadership role in supporting the Executive and leading the Civil Service on the delivery of the commitments from New Decade, New Approach agreement, Programme for Government and the monumental task of recovery as we manage our way through the Covid pandemic. “I offer my congratulations to Jayne on her appointment.

“I also want to put on record my thanks to Jenny Pyper, who stepped up to carry out the role on an interim basis over the past seven months during a time of great challenge for the Executive and civil service as we have responded to the global health crisis.”

Jayne Brady, new Head of the Civil Service

Commenting on her appointment Jayne Brady said:

“I’m honoured to be appointed as Head of the Civil Service. The NICS has a dedicated and skilled workforce who have done an outstanding job in the most challenging of circumstances. I will work with colleagues across the service to further develop the NICS as a high-performing organisation that effectively supports the institutions of government.  

“I am under no illusions about the scale of the challenges ahead, but I am looking forward to supporting the Executive in delivering their commitments and priorities during my tenure.”

An announcement on when Jayne will take up her post will be made shortly.

Jayne Brady is an engineer at heart with extensive, board experience and a track record of success that transcends blue-chip corporations, start-ups and funding ecosystems. She has over 20 years’ leadership experience and a diverse skillset including venture capital, due diligence, corporate governance, setting strategy, leading teams, technical ownership and finance across complex organisational structures internationally.

Jayne has a strong, established professional network and is a Fellow of the Institute of Directors, the Institution of Engineering and Technology and the Irish Academy of Engineers; she sits on the NI Committee for the IoD and the Engineering Policy Group, is a board director on Queen’s University Belfast Spinout Fund, QUBIS and is a Trustee for Young Enterprise NI.

Congratulations to Jayne from all the team at Diversity Mark.

Find out more about The Diversity Mark Accreditations.

Danske Bank Embed Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging into Organisational Culture

Christine White, Head of Business at Diversity Mark NI, Kevin Kingston, CEO at Danske Bank UK and Caroline van der Feltz, HR Director at Danske Bank UK
Christine White, Head of Business at Diversity Mark, Kevin Kingston, CEO at Danske Bank UK and Caroline van der Feltz, HR Director at Danske Bank UK

Caroline van der Feltz, HR Director at Danske Bank outlines the approach to embed diversity, inclusion and belonging within the organisation. Their commitment has resulted in Danske Bank being awarded the Diversity Mark Silver accreditation.

Danske Bank signed up as a Diversity Mark Signatory in January 2018 and have proved to be an organisation with a laser focus on measurement, using data and employee feedback to drive strategy and to set clear and ambitious targets around diversity, inclusion and belonging.

Caroline herself is an experienced HR Director, having spent over 25 years’ within the Financial Services, FMCG, Travel and Retail sectors. At Danske Bank UK Caroline leads the People Strategy as part of the Banks Executive Committee with Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging being a significant element of their strategy. Caroline also gives her time to be a Diversity Mark Buddy, providing guidance and expertise to new signatories.

Caroline van der Feltz, HR Director at Danske Bank discussing diversity inclusion and belonging policies.
Caroline van der Feltz, HR Director at Danske Bank

What prompted Danske Bank to join the Diversity Mark Accreditation Programme?

The Diversity Mark underpins our commitment to drive diversity, inclusion and belonging and be a force for good in Northern Ireland. The application framework enables us (and other organisations) to identify and take action on any institutional barriers facing minorities and underrepresented groups that can impact on their career progression and sense of belonging. 

How knowledgeable was Danske Bank about Diversity and Inclusion at the start?

We were knowledgeable, but are always seeking to grow and expand our knowledge base across all facets of our business to help us embed diversity, inclusion and belonging right in the heart of our culture at Danske Bank.

What have been the main benefits of participating in the Diversity Mark accreditation programme to date?

Collaborating with the fantastic Diversity Mark team to host an event as part of the Diversity and Inclusion series – ‘Disabilities, Mental Health & Belonging’, growing external diversity and inclusion networks, giving back through the Diversity Buddies Programme and participating in some fantastic webinars and diversity and inclusion events has been hugely beneficial for our team.

What have you learned on your journey so far and how has it impacted the organisation?

At Danske Bank people are at the heart of everything we do and we want to ensure that every colleague and customer feels supported, accepted and included. As part of our Danske Belong strategy we have very strong employee networks which are driven by passionate volunteers with the focus and ambition to make Danske Bank a place of work where people feel they can be their true selves. The networks have been instrumental in opening up debate, introducing new initiatives and challenging for change, and they have the full support of our senior management team. Of course, working life has transformed since the pandemic and we will continue to listen to colleague feedback, collaborate to introduce new policies or initiatives where necessary, and also step up our focus on wellbeing.

What are the next steps in the Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging journey to help you to retain the Diversity Mark accreditation?

We are continuously working on progressing our diversity, inclusion and belonging initiatives. Below are a few highlighted areas:

  • Launching our Origins Affinity Network
  • Further embedding our Belong strategy into the organisation’s culture.
  • Launching our Domestic Abuse: Support for Colleagues Policy and tangible support offerings.
  • Finalising our Suicide Awareness programme of work for colleagues and people leaders.
  • Roll out of our Belong Journal (an empowerment tool to help colleagues remove the first barrier to belonging which, in many cases, can be a conversation with their line manager on a personal, sensitive, or emotive subject to them).
  • Data collation, analysis and implementation of data informed action points.
  • The Belong Mission Statement publication and communicating to our colleagues through our Belong Hub and Belong e-booklet.

What support have you received from Diversity Mark to help you on your journey so far?

Excellent support. Diversity Mark have always been on hand to provide market analysis, best practice learnings, collaboration opportunities and networking introductions.

Would you recommend the Diversity Mark accreditation programme to other organisations?

Absolutely, and we have done so publicly in our external marketing communications, and through conversations with other businesses in the Northern Ireland market – both private and public sector.

Can you briefly summarise your experience to date on the accreditation programme?

Diversity Mark has been instrumental in enabling us to grow and expand our knowledge base across all facets of our business, to help us embed diversity, inclusion and belonging right in the heart of our culture at Danske Bank.


Find out more about the Diversity Mark Acreditation Programme.

Diversity and Inclusion, From Talk to Action

Diversity Mark Head of Business, Christine White delivered a practical session yesterday on taking the first steps to Diversity and Inclusion at a Derry and Strabane Enterprise Week event.  The week-long programme of events powered by Startacus entitled ‘Level Up 2021’ inspired post pandemic ideas and spark creativity by exploring how people, both locally and internationally have innovated, created economic growth, and initiated real change. 

CLICK HERE to watch a recording of Christine’s presentation:

Diversity and Inclusion, From Talk to Action

‘8 Steps to Building a Diverse and Inclusive Workplace’

Find out more about the Diversity Mark Accreditation Programme.

The Utility Regulator Join Diversity Mark Accreditation Programme

We are delighted to welcome on board the Utility Regulator as Diversity Mark’s newest signatory. The Utility Regulator is responsible for regulating the electricity, gas, water and sewerage industries in Northern Ireland and promoting the short- and long-term interests of consumers. The team are eager to continue their Diversity and Inclusion journey by working towards achieving the Bronze Diversity Mark Accreditation. The accreditation is based around three gender based targets that provide a framework for measurable and progressive success moving forward.

Their recently appointed CEO, John French has taken the time to explain how important it was for the organisation to sign up to Diversity Mark.


John French CEO at Utility Regulator is delighted to champion the organisations diversity and inclusion programme
John French, CEO at Utility Regulator

What prompted you as Chief Executive of the Utility Regulator to join the Diversity Mark Accreditation Programme?

Previously as Chief Executive of The Consumer Council, I and the team there, had been successful in gaining the Bronze Diversity Mark. I felt that within The Consumer Council the Diversity Mark Accreditation Programme had been an important step in the organisation’s development. The Diversity Mark process actively and positively changed many internal conversations. The Programme showed that there was a genuine commitment throughout the organisation to be inclusive, and that commitment in turn increased trust, and developed a unified sense of purpose. Therefore, in my new role as Chief Executive of the Utility Regulator, I thought that committing to the Diversity Mark Accreditation Programme was an important step in recognising the importance of diversity and inclusion within organisations, and that it could be used as a driver for generating an more inclusive culture.

What do you see as the main benefits in working towards achieving and maintaining the Diversity Mark accreditation?

Working towards the Diversity Mark accreditation provides staff and external stakeholders a visible sign of an organisation’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. It shows that everyone within the organisation is valued.    

Would you recommend the accreditation programme to others?

I would absolutely recommend the Diversity Mark accreditation programme to other organisations. The programme provides a helpful approach that enables structured and meaningful discussions around diversity and inclusion to take place in the workplace. 

Thank you to John French, we are thrilled to have the Utility Regulator on board as a Diversity Mark Signatory.

Utility Regulator for electricity water and gas in Northern Ireland join Diversity Mark accreditation programme.

Find out more about the Diversity Mark Accreditation Programme.

Texthelp awarded Bronze Diversity Mark for commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion

We are thrilled to announce that Texthelp have been awarded the Bronze Diversity Mark, in recognition of their work in diversity, equity and inclusion. It marks an important step in their journey towards growing a more inclusive workplace where all employees can thrive. 

As part of the assessment process Texthelp submitted a detailed 3-year plan to advance gender diversity in the workforce. Their Diversity Mark application was assessed by an independent panel of experts, who commended Texthelp’s progress and ambitions. The panel also suggested a number of  targets to action as they work towards the Silver Diversity Mark. 



Among Texthelp’s agreed objectives, they plan to institute a company-wide D&I policy with input from employees and external resources. Alongside this, they will continue to engage in industry partnerships and initiatives aimed at widening female participation in technology. They will also take conscious action to widen their pool of female applicants for developer roles. 

Texthelp CEO and founder Martin McKay said:

“The products and services we provide at Texthelp are forward-thinking and inclusive at their core. As we set out our company vision for the future, we want to ensure our workplace culture and structure better reflect the diverse audiences we serve. This award marks an important step in achieving that.”  

HR Officer Andrew McDermott added:

“We believe that having a diverse and well-balanced workforce should no longer be an aspiration, but a necessity. We are confident that by improving diversity within our organisation, we will benefit from different perspectives, improved relations, and more creative ideas, positioning us to offer better solutions to our customers.”

Christine White, Head of Diversity Mark added:

“We are delighted to recognise Texthelp for their commitment to Gender Diversity by awarding them the Bronze Diversity Mark. Our independent assessment panel welcomed their enthusiastic approach to building a more diverse company and making the clear connection between diversity and inclusion and business growth. We congratulate everyone at Texthelp on this achievement and we look forward to working with them as they develop their diversity initiatives over the coming years.”

Huge congratulations once again to all the team at Texthelp.

Find out more about the Diversity Mark accreditation scheme and how you can get involved here.

AMS awarded Silver Diversity Mark

We are delighted to announce that AMS have been awarded the Silver Diversity Mark. The award recognizes AMS’s commitment to Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace. Following a number of initiatives launched by the business to achieve silver status, including a maternity paternity programme to support working parents back into employment, a mentoring programme and a number of awareness initiatives such as Pride events and diversity inclusion days.

Marcella McKeever, Head of the Belfast Global Client Service Centre said:

“Having previously been awarded the Bronze Diversity Charter Mark for our gender diversity and inclusivity actions, AMS took action to drive new diversity targets across the business, which included addressing disability and social mobility in the workplace.  In addition to continuing to champion our initiatives across our gender diversity objectives, our aim is to become a Disability Confident Employer and provide an impact on our communities by accessing and progressing talent from all socio-economic backgrounds with the aim of improving social equality in our workplace.  We believe that a diverse, equity and inclusive workforce is not only the right ethos to have but crucial to the development and success of our people.”

Christine White, Head of Diversity Mark added:

“We are thrilled that AMS have been awarded the Silver Diversity Mark in recognition of their progress and ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Our independent assessment panel congratulated AMS on their proactive and positive approach with excellent progress demonstrated against their Gender Diversity targets.  They were also commended on their new focus and commitment to addressing Inclusion for people with Disabilities and their worthwhile work around Social Mobility in the workplace. 

We congratulate everyone at AMS on their innovative and progressive approach and we look forward to supporting them on their Diversity and Inclusion journey over the coming years whilst they maintain the highly robust Silver Accreditation and strive towards the Gold Diversity Mark.”

AMS Silver Diversity Mark

AMS is committed to continuing its journey to becoming a top diversity employer. It continues to dedicate resources to becoming a Disability Confident Employer and improve social mobility through a number of campaigns to create new career opportunities for local communities.

Congratulations once again to all the team at AMS. We are excited to continue your Diversity and Inclusion journey with you, striving for the Gold Diversity Mark in the future!

Find out more about the Diversity Mark Acreditation Programme.