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.

Cleaver Fulton Rankin awarded Bronze Diversity Mark in recognition of its commitment to Diversity & Inclusion

In recognition of Cleaver Fulton Rankin’s commitment to diversity and Inclusion, the firm has been awarded the Bronze Diversity Charter Mark by Diversity Mark.


Diversity Mark is the awarding body in the UK and Ireland for the Diversity Mark Accreditation. The Bronze Award is awarded to organisations following an independent assessment to demonstrate the required standard of commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion. The bronze journey begins with setting three gender diversity targets which reflect the organisation’s aspirations, demonstrates commitment to focusing on gender diversity, drives growth and continuous improvement, and promotes a diverse and inclusive environment.  

Upon receiving the award, a process of annual review takes place with a full assessment each year, where an independent panel reviews progress made and provides feedback on an organisation’s diversity and inclusion journey. Organisations can progress through their journey by demonstrating evidence of significant measurable progress against all targets.

Cleaver Fulton Rankin is currently working towards three key targets, with a Diversity and Inclusion Committee in place to drive forward the firm’s targets, to identify further growth opportunities, innovate and impact positively on business performance.

Kerri Bradley, HR Director at Cleaver Fulton Rankin commented, “Achieving the Bronze Charter Mark has been an important milestone in our diversity and inclusion journey. At Cleaver Fulton Rankin, we are committed to encouraging a positive working environment and in identifying opportunities for continuous progression. This award will help guide us on our journey towards maximising a diverse and inclusive workplace.

We have set three important targets and look forward to progressing with these and achieving our goals as a team, to become the most welcoming and inclusive company we can be.”

Nuala Murphy, Interim Head of Business at Diversity Mark added: “We are delighted to recognise Cleaver Fulton Rankin for their commitment to Diversity by awarding them the Bronze Diversity Mark accreditation. Our independent assessment panel commended Cleaver Fulton Rankin on a very impressive application which evidenced a maturity of thinking and a comprehensive list of actions to take forward with each target. The submission contained an engaging vision statement and clear ambition to progress diversity and inclusion in the organisation, linking this to service provision, internal morale and feelings of dignity in the workplace. 

We congratulate everyone at Cleaver Fulton Rankin 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.

Belfast entrepreneur Nuala Murphy named interim Head of Business at Diversity Mark

Nuala Murphy, who joins Diversity Mark as interim Head of Business

Diversity Mark NI are delighted to announce that Belfast entrepreneur Nuala Murphy has been confirmed as interim Head of Business.

Nuala founded Lean in Belfast in 2013, the volunteer-run chapter of the non-profit group created by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. The group, which began as a small network of peers from all walks of professional life, now boasts 3,000 members across Ireland.

During lockdown last year, Nuala also set up the Women’s Investor Ready Project, a community interest group dedicated to changing the stat of investment in women entrepreneurs regionally.

She will join Diversity Mark on a 14-month basis while the firm’s current head of business Christine White, is on maternity leave.

With a commitment to building a more diverse and inclusive workplace, Diversity Mark enables organisations to identify and take action on any institutional barriers facing underrepresented groups. Founded in 2016 by Women in Business, Diversity Mark now represents 80,000 employees in Northern Ireland.

In her new role, Nuala will bring her skills and global experience in diversity and inclusion and will be focused on expanding Diversity Mark’s reach to include the rest of Ireland and the UK, helping the organisation achieve its objectives in 2021 and beyond. She will channel her passion and commitment to building a more equal society, working with companies from all sectors as they commit to advancing diversity and inclusion to benefit all employees.

Nuala said: “It is a real honour to carry on Christine’s mantle as Head of Business at Diversity Mark, an organisation that has become such a vital proponent of workplace inclusivity across Northern Ireland.

“For years I’ve been an impassioned advocate for women’s equality and have a deep commitment to creating workplaces where every person has a seat at the table and a chance to be heard. Never has there been a better time to have organisations sign up to commit to diverse and inclusive strategies and practice and I am very much looking forward to building on the momentum and success that the Diversity Mark team has achieved to date.

“I am calling on companies and those I have worked with in the past to get in touch with Diversity Mark NI to begin their diversity journey.”

In her first month in post, Nuala will be involved in a fireside chat “Emerging Stronger” with Danske Bank’s Gender Diversity Network. The event will be an honest conversation of how challenges of lockdown were overcome and how to thrive in the new normal, with Nuala talking about her experience during the past year and how it led to her taking up her new role with Diversity Mark.

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 Signatory Roundtable Event ‘Gender Balance in STEM’

Thank you to everyone that attended our recent roundtable event ‘Gender Balance in STEM’. This event gave attendees the opportunity to connect with peers from other organisations and sectors, and share ideas, challenges and good practice around achieving gender balance in the STEM sector.

Diversity Mark signatories attending ‘Gender Balance in STEM’

During the session, signatories completed a poll advising the main challenges for them to achieving gender balance within their organisation. The top three barriers were listed as:

  • Talent Pipeline -so few women interested in applying

  • Girls not studying the relevant subjects/degree not suitable

  • Male dominated environment

The great news is that we are moving the dial within STEM. Looking collectively at four IT companies that joined us in the early days, Liberty IT, Allstate NI, Learning Pool and Outsource Solutions they have jointly increased their female workforce by 27% overall and by 30% specifically in senior management positions. All four companies have grown collectively by 401 employees since they joined Diversity Mark with 47% of all new hires being female, tipping the overall gender balance collectively in favour of women by 3%.

Thank you to Frank Fleming from the Equality Commission NI for his offer to help with policies, culture audits and training. Please CLICK HERE to find out more.

Attendees came away from the session with a list of over twenty practical tips, strategies and initiatives to review and implement where possible within their organisations.

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.

80,000 Employees To Gain Greater Inclusivity

We are delighted to announce that we recently reached a significant milestone with organisations signed up, working towards achieving and maintaining the Diversity Mark representing over 80,000 employees, with almost 40% of those companies based within the STEM sector.

Four of NI’s leading IT firms – Allstate, Learning Pool, Liberty IT and Outsource – have been accredited through Diversity Mark for over 2 years, and in that time have jointly increased their female workforce by 27% overall and by 30% specifically in senior management positions. All four companies have grown collectively by 401 employees since they joined Diversity Mark with 47% of all new hires being female, tipping the overall gender balance collectively in favour of women by 3%.

Launched in 2017 by Women in Business, Diversity Mark are now the leading authority in Diversity in the UK & Ireland and the accreditation recognises an organisation’s commitment to embracing diversity and creating an inclusive culture for all staff.

A McKinsey report published last year found that companies in the top quartile of gender diversity on executive teams were 25 percent more likely to experience above-average profitability than peer companies.

Terry Moore – CEO of Outsource, Nichola Robinson – Director of Strategic Sourcing at Spirit AeroSystems and Diversity Mark Chair, Paul McElvaney – Group CEO of Learning Pool, John Healy OBE- Vice President and Managing Director of Allstate NI, Christine White – Head of Business at Diversity Mark and Willie Hamilton – Managing Director of Liberty IT.

Christine White, Head of Business at Diversity Mark, said: “We are delighted to have reached this landmark milestone representing 80,000 employees. At Diversity Mark it is our mission to platform issues around inclusivity in the workplace and create equal opportunities for all. It is well known that having a diverse workforce can unlock greater innovation within a company, driving its performance and success. We look forward to further progressing in 2022 and are delighted to work with organisations new and old throughout the UK & Ireland as they continue their exciting journeys towards greater diversity.”

John Healy OBE, Vice President and Managing Director at Allstate NI, said: “Diversity is central to everything we do, and it’s needed now more than ever in the IT sector. As the first company in Northern Ireland to receive the Silver Diversity Mark, Allstate are committed to be the catalyst for change.

“In a sector where females are underrepresented, I am delighted to see the progress Allstate and the other companies have made to address this. The frameworks and resources provided by the Diversity Mark team have been invaluable in helping us to set goals, track performance and benchmark against other organisations. Allstate’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion will help drive change and attract more females to join the IT sector.”

Paul McElvaney, Group CEO of Learning Pool, said: “Our strong commitment to diversity benefits our entire company. We recently ranked as the top indigenous company in Northern Ireland to work for, and part of this success can be attributed to our dedication to inclusion.

“Diversity Mark’s accreditation programme has helped build on this ongoing commitment to maintain an inclusive culture. We’ve made significant investments in building a flexible workplace and nurturing a culture where everyone has equal opportunity to achieve their potential in terms of career growth, pay fairness, and skill building. In the current climate, it’s more important than ever to foster this kind of experience, where people feel valued and have a voice in what they do.”

Willie Hamilton, Managing Director at Liberty IT, said: “Partnering with Diversity Mark NI to achieve our accreditation has played a key role in pushing us even further in our DEI journey. We’re growing our teams and continuing to bring diversity of talent into our organisation is critical to this.

“We’re seeing improvements in gender balance across all job families including the Executive Team, and our Women in Tech Employee Resource Group have launched mentoring circles and a buddy programme, and our Talent team have introduced coaching and toolkits to support parents and those returning from a period of leave. Our DEI Council has just been established and I am excited to partner with this group to evolve DEI even further across Liberty IT.

Terry Moore, Founder and CEO of Outsource, said: “At Outsource we have always prided ourselves on our commitment to diversity, inclusion and the general wellbeing of our staff, our participation in the Diversity Mark accreditation journey has undoubtedly accelerated and placed more structure on the senior management team’s implementation efforts.

“With the support of the Diversity Mark team, Outsource are proud to be the only Managed Service and Security Provider in NI to have been awarded the Bronze Diversity Mark but as importantly we genuinely believe that this commitment to diversity and inclusion is and will continue to be a major advantage to us as we progress with our plans for Outsource and our ground-breaking OSG Cloud solution to grow nationally and internationally. For any company that genuinely wants to grow or attract the best candidates the Diversity Mark is a fantastic way to show you are a genuinely inclusive and welcoming place to work, where skills and talents from all sections of the workforce are actively encouraged and welcome.”

To learn more about Diversity Mark Accreditations please click here.

To sign up to become a Diversity Mark Signatory please click here.

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.