AMS named winner of 2021 ‘Diversity & Inclusion’ Awards Northern Ireland

AMS who hold the Silver Diversity Mark Accreditation has been awarded the ‘Diversity & Inclusion’ Award at the 2021 Responsible Business Awards in Northern Ireland. The Award is one of 11 Awards categories that form part of Business in the Community’s annual recognition event that recognises and rewards firms in Northern Ireland that are embracing the journey to build better workforces, create a sustainable economy and healthy communities.

Winners in all eleven responsible business categories were announced at a hybrid Awards event, hosted in-studio by TV and weather presenter Barra Best and broadcast live across Business in the Community’s digital platforms.

The Awards take place every year and in 2021 the event was run in partnership with JP Corry, SPAR and Department for Communities, and in association with Ulster Business and U105.

Kieran Harding, Managing Director of Business in the Community Northern Ireland pictured with Marcella McKeever, Head of Centre Belfast, AMS, winners of the Diversity & Inclusion Award at the 2021 Responsible Business Awards in Northern Ireland.

Marcella McKeever, Head of Centre, AMS Belfast commented on the news of this award, “We are delighted to have won this award and be recognised as an organisation that is committed to the diversity, inclusivity and wellbeing of our people.  We strive to enable our people to succeed in a truly diverse and inclusive environment. Our employee led working groups work tirelessly to initiate change internally and are visibly engaged in supporting our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) ambitions across all areas including social mobility, ethnicity, disability, cognitive diversity, LGBT+ and wellbeing. Our DE&I framework embeds our company culture promoting the value of difference and conscious inclusion, empowering our people who are passionate about equality and mutual respect for others.”

Kieran Harding, Managing Director, Business in the Community remarked: “Congratulations to each of the winning organisations for leading the way in responsible business. This year has been really challenging for a lot of businesses and people in Northern Ireland, so I want to thank our winning, and highly commended and shortlisted organisations for continuing to make responsible business action a priority. The judging process of the Awards is robust, and the standard of entries was phenomenally high this year. All winners demonstrated true leadership in the area of responsible business and their entries are sure to inspire others in their own responsible business journey.”

Huge congratulations to all the team at AMS on this fantastic achievement.

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.

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.

Deloitte awarded Silver Diversity Mark for commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace

Joanna Karlic and Kerrie Irvine from the Deloitte team with their Silver Award for Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace
Joanna Karlic and Kerrie Irvine from the Deloitte team with their Silver Award for Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

Professional services firm Deloitte has become only the third company in Northern Ireland to be awarded a Silver Mark for diversity and inclusion practices by awarding body, Diversity Mark NI.

It is currently the highest level available, and to date only Allstate NI and Danske Bank have received the accolade.

Assessors commended the firm’s efforts to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace, with Deloitte’s Belfast Balance team recognised for its hard work and commitment to driving the respect and inclusion and wellbeing agendas.

Jackie Henry, office senior partner at Deloitte in Belfast said: “This validates the effort so many people in the team have put in to ensure we are an employer that walks the walk on diversity and inclusion and doesn’t just talk about it to tick a box.

“We will work hard to make sure we keep evolving as an employer and remain committed to improving our workplace and culture even further so that every colleague continues to feel valued, respected and able to be themselves at Deloitte.”

Christine White, head of business from Diversity Mark NI added: “Our independent assessment panel commended Deloitte on a comprehensive submission and recognised that they are delivering on a wide-ranging inclusion agenda which is both meaningful and responsive to the need of their employees.

“We congratulate everyone at Deloitte on this achievement and look forward to working with them on their Diversity journey over the next number of years striving towards the Gold Diversity Mark.”

Diversity Mark applications are assessed by an independent panel of experts, who looked at a number of Deloitte’s diversity initiatives.

Among these were Deloitte’s ambitious UK wide targets for gender balance over the next three to 10 years, with an ultimate goal of 50-50 gender balance across all grades by 2030.

Deloitte’s gender balance network in Belfast holds regular events to promote female role models locally and to help develop women in the firm.

The application also highlighted a commitment to meaningful interventions on ethnic diversity across the firm, including voluntarily reporting on the firm’s ethnicity pay gap, and renewing its employee life-cycle processes to remove any bias.

Find out more about the Diversity Mark Accreditation Programme.