The process to become a member is straightforward. Companies initially apply for membership on the Diversity Mark NI website, followed by completion of an application form detailing the organisation’s current gender diversity stats and goals which will be reviewed by the Independent Panel. Goals and targets will be individual to each organisation depending on the current diversity structure, but they should initially focus on improving gender diversity over the next 12 months.
Who can be a signatory of the charter? The Charter is aimed at all small, mid and large companies and organisations, across all sectors, with operations in Northern Ireland.
What does it cost to apply to the charter? Costs are on a sliding scale depending on the number of employees in the organisation.
How can organisations sign up to the charter?
Step 2: Following review and acceptance of the initial registration the organisation will be given access to the Diversity Mark NI website to create their login details.
Step 3: At this point the organisation will have a three month window to complete their initial application, including submission of their chosen targets to the Charter Review Committee. Table 2 below lists the Quarterly deadlines for the process
Step 4: The application will then be reviewed by the Independent Assessment Panel. The organisation will contact the applicant organisation with any queries, working to maximise the chances of application approval and receipt of the Bronze level award.
Step 5: The organisation should then work towards their planned targets over the following 12 months. Note that targets may be foundational targets for longer-term aims. For example:-
- Year 1 – introduce a leadership training programme
- Year 2 – introduce a mentoring and secondment programme both supporting
- Year 3 – a 20% increase in female applicants for Leadership positions.
Further examples are available in the Case Studies and Example KPIs section of this website –
Step 6: Applicants will report on progress against their targets 12 months after their initial approval, including a summary of actions implemented over the prior year. A summary of these actions may be posted on the Gender Diversity Charter NI website in agreement with the applicant organisation. Approval of the report and subsequent payment of the annual subscription enables the Organisation to retain their Charter Mark for the next twelvemonth period.
How can organisations achieve Bronze, Silver and Gold charter marks?
Upon successful application and payment of the application fee, organisations are awarded the Gender Diversity Charter Mark NI at Bronze level. Renewals will be reviewed on an annual basis, with the higher level marks achieved through continuous successful retention of the Charter Mark as shown below. These renewals also require evidence of progress and successful completion of earlier action plans which will be updated at least annually:
|Bronze||On acceptance of initial application|
|Silver||Eligible to apply after 2 years|
|Gold||Eligible to apply after 3 years|
How can organizations best ensure their proposed target improvements are likely to be achieved?
Self-assessment and self-setting of target goals is key. Organisations will analyse their gender diversity as part of the assessment process. They should use this data to inform their chosen improvement plans and proposed 12 month targets. Targets should be developed with reference to the industry, existing gender diversity levels, and other contextual factors such as resource pipelines, etc. The proposed improvement measures will therefore be different for every organisation. Some examples are given below:
- Opening up managerial roles to be available to both part-time and full-time employees.
- The provision of dedicated leadership training programmes for women with the potential to move forward into senior management.
- Review of recruitment material to be equally attractive to female and male applicants.
Review by Charter Review Committee
Award applications are assessed by the Charter Review Committee, the Committee will be made up of independent voluntary assessors. Companies which have successfully achieved a Bronze Level Mark will be permitted to nominate candidates to sit on the review panel.
|Size of Organisation by Number of Employees||Gender Diversity Charter NI Annual Costs|
|1 – 499||£500|
|Deadline for competing the Diversity Mark application||Annual review date, update on progress|
|31st January||Annually on 31st January|
|30th April||Annually on 30th April|
|31st July||Annually on 31st July|
|31st October||Annually on 31st October|