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Detailed commitments

Belfast Business Promise

Provide fair wages and contracts

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Ensuring your employees are paid the Real Living Wage and have security around the hours they work

This will be evidenced by:

Paying the Real Living Wage to all employees and workers aged over 18 (as set out by the Living Wage Foundation this does not require employers to pay the real Living Wage to volunteers, apprentices and interns). Find out more information about the Real Living Wage.

Confirming that you do not engage workers on zero hours contracts  OR  where zero hours contracts are used and are considered necessary for your business ( often this will be in areas where there is a business need to manage fluctuations in demand) and are entered into freely by the worker, that they are used responsibly. This is to recognise the fact that some arrangements like these can exist to suit both parties to their mutual benefit. 

We define responsible use as:

  1. ensuring no exploitation or restrictive conditions are applied, such as exclusivity clauses or penalties for refusing extra hours.
  2. providing sufficient advance warning of changes to shift patterns and commit to paying staff those cancelled hours if less than 2 weeks notice given.
  3. consider on a regular basis, if it possible to create job opportunities which offer a contract of employment, which would allow interested workers to apply.

Larger organisations, with over 250 employees should also commit to:

Having a time-bound plan to pay regularly contracted staff the Real Living Wage  ie. those contracted staff who work 2 or more hours a week, for 8 or more consecutive weeks a year.

Monitoring pay gaps related to protected social identities (eg by gender and race) to identify any potential issues.


Offer opportunities into work

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Creating pathways into work by providing job and development opportunities and removing barriers to employment

This will be evidenced by:

  • Developing an action plan with targets, that creates employment and training opportunities, through activities such as apprenticeships, bespoke traineeship schemes, work experience and business awareness.
  • Working in collaboration with community leaders and established community groups to promote employment and training opportunities, with the goal of improving engagement with your business and better uptake of initiatives.
  • Focusing on retaining new staff through the provision of a range of support measures based on their individual circumstances e.g. offer flexible working from commencement of employment; provide mentoring and coaching support; offer reasonable adjustments
  • Committing to offering apprentices who successfully complete their programme the opportunity of a permanent job where possible.
  • Designing the structure of apprenticeships and training opportunities to enable an uptake by a wider group of citizens who may face additional barriers to taking part e.g. raising the age range, flexibility around hours worked, paying above the required minimum apprenticeships pay level
  • Developing a forward action plan of working with schools and colleges to ensure students are aware of the career opportunities available to them and provide practical support to help them develop the skills they need to succeed in the future labour market.
  • Identifying opportunities to take part in the employment academies offered by the Council and participate in the Belfast Local Inclusive Labour Market Partnership

Larger organisations, with over 250 employees should also commit to:

  • Encouraging the creation of employment and training opportunities as part of procurement and sub-contracting arrangements
  • Identifying opportunities to ring-fence jobs for people with who have been out of work for a period of 6 months or more, in line with current legislation
  • Supporting joint Belfast Business Promise initiatives to reduce the barriers to work for some groups of citizens e.g. digital inclusion and sectoral employment schemes for youth

Support the local and social economy

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Using our purchasing power to support the local  economy, increase competitiveness and add social value

This will be evidenced by:

  • Supporting the local economy by choosing suppliers close to the point of service delivery where possible
  • Encouraging your employees and service providers to shop locally and ethically, supporting ‘Keep it Local’ campaigns
  • Developing better relationships with your local supplier base to promote supply chain diversification, encourage innovation and support small business sustainability. This could for example include considering micro-businesses, start-up’s, SMEs, social enterprises and cooperatives
  • Making managers aware of your commitments to support local businesses and achieve social value through your purchasing activities
  • Joining and using the Belfast Business Promise Directory to promote the goods and services on offer, and source goods and services
  • Reviewing current purchasing processes and identifying ways to make the process as accessible as possible to local businesses e.g. breaking down tenders into lots/smaller contracts and removing non-essential requirements

Larger organisations, with over 250 employees should also commit to:

  • Supporting local small businesses, third sector organisations and social enterprises to bid and respond to procurement opportunities by holding ‘meet the buyer’ days ( if applicable)  and simplifying the procurement process and requirements
  • Publishing forward procurement schedules to ensure potential local suppliers are fully aware of opportunities and offering mentoring /support activities so they can prepare for the best chance of being successful
  • Considering the use of reserved contracts if applicable under the legislation e.g. for social enterprises, co-operatives and SMEs
  • Conducting supply chain and spend analysis and developing an action plan to spend more locally where possible
  • Considering developing a Social Value Commissioning and Procurement Framework

Recruit inclusively

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Ensuring job accessibility for all citizens and hiring across diverse communities

This will be evidenced by:

  • Reviewing recruitment and promotion processes to ensure they are fit for purpose, enabling you to recruit and promote the best people for the job, irrespective of who they are
  • Offering flexible working wherever possible in line with business needs, setting out the potential for flexible working and the number of hours to be worked in the job advert. This includes thinking about:
  1. where people work (eg working from home; across different offices; mobile working),
  2. when people work (eg flexible start or finish times; annualised flexibility; compressed hours; project-based work; shift work)
  3. how much people work (eg part-time; job sharing ; unpaid leave)
  • Ensuring that any requirements applied to job adverts are scrutinised to see if they will allow for the widest possible applicant pool e.g. no inappropriate use of qualifications where evidence of skills would be more appropriate
  • Exploring recruitment methods appropriate to the role and the candidate e.g. with adaptable methods of communication, interviews and other activities
  • Making sure that local communities/people are made aware of job opportunities.
  • Providing a Guaranteed Interview Scheme and supporting the ‘Ban the Box’ campaign
  • Making your staff aware of services such as Access to Work, and the support provided by specialist organisations which can help you make adjustments to enable those with disabilities to perform to their best

Larger organisations, with over 250 employees should also commit to:

  • Ensuring all managers have undertaken equality and diversity training
  • Routinely monitoring the diversity of your workforce and taking action if there are issues. This could include monitoring your workforces age, disability status, race, gender and sexual orientation

Improve training, engagement and wellbeing

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Creating a workplace where staff feel valued and can thrive

This will be evidenced by:

  • Employee engagement systems which empower staff to be involved in policy development at work and showing how their feedback is positively used
  • Developing a robust ‘people plan’, developed with your staff for your business, directly linked to achieving your business objectives and allowing for development opportunities to support aspirations for progression
  • Supporting staff to thrive within their working environment regardless of their life stage, including adjustments for people with long-term conditions and disabilities, and a flexible working policy
  • Engaging positively with trade unions and ensuring staff are aware of potential trade union membership
  • Recognising mental health on a par with physical health as important for staff wellbeing and developing an action plan to support staff – this may include things like supporting the Equality Commission Mental Health Charter
  • Using systems to  evaluate training, enagagement and wellbeing activity with a requirement to act on feedback and communicate results/any changes taken as a result

Larger organisations, with over 250 employees should also commit to:

  • A clear commitment of leaders in the organisation to recognising  the importance of a healthy workplace and encouraging staff to share their views and communicating the results / actions taken
  • All managers having a specific objective to discuss staff wellbeing and have support in place to apply best practice
  • Ensuring all managers have appropriate training and support to listen effectively to staff and seek to get staff views and ideas about how to make the workplace better

Pay promptly

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Paying supplier invoices on time to support the sustainability of small businesses and the local economy

This will be evidenced by:

  • Establishing a clear policy on prompt payment of bills, with evidence of an action plan to work towards adopting 30 days as the norm and ensuring that the maximum is no more than 60 days (in line with late payment legislation requirements)
  • Monitoring the success of your business in meeting your targets around prompt payment and taking action as necessary to improve
  • Ensuring that all staff are aware of this commitment, especially those in finance and purchasing
  • Informing suppliers of your payment procedures and who is responsible for ensuring that payments are made

Larger organisations, with over 250 employees should also commit to:

  • Signing up to the Prompt Payment Code, which requires suppliers to be paid within clearly defined terms and there being a proper process for dealing with any issues that may arise

Work in partnership with our communities

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Working in collaboration with local communities through meaningful engagement to bring about positive impact as a local employer

This will be evidenced by:

  • Creating a culture where working in partnership with communities is the norm, seeing citizens, other businesses and community organisations as valued partners
  • Engaging directly with community groups and leaders to build a better understanding of local issues and how you can have a positive impact as a local employer eg building awareness of employment opportunities or in the design of new employment initiatives
  • Building capacity by supporting community organisations with resources and expertise in areas with the greatest need eg mentoring or working with youth organisations and services
  • Developing an outreach action plan to make sure your organisation plays an active role in supporting community activities and events
  • Encouraging your staff to actively participate in volunteering to benefit local areas, for example by sharing skills
  • Increasing business engagement with local schools and colleges and universities including showcasing career opportunities, holding open days for young people, providing work experience and offering information around support into employment

Larger organisations, with over 250 employees should also commit to:

  • Reviewing how you can make improvements in the impact you make in local communities and communicate these as part of your corporate business goals and aims
  • Supporting training and development in the community to help grow local talent and encouraging new business/job creation e.g. sponsoring a start up/entrepreneur or offering to share some of your office space
  • Identifying a named senior manager responsible for leading on community engagement for your business
  • Considering the development of a formal volunteering policy and monitoring uptake and impact
  • Consulting with the public on large projects and investment

Protect our environment

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Working together to tackle the global challenge of climate change and protect our environment for future generations

This will be evidenced by:

  • Assessing the environmental/climate impacts of your organisations activities and developing an action plan with targets to address it and reduce your carbon footprint and waste
  • Investing in energy efficiency measures (such as improving building insulation, choosing low energy appliances and processes) where possible
  • Investing in low (or zero) emission heat and energy (such as heat pumps, solar or wind powered electricity) where possible
  • Identifying measures to support Belfast’s circular economy objectives by adopting the re-use recycle approach eg increase recycling of the most carbon-intensive waste streams including food, textiles and plastics
  • Educating and building awareness with staff of your commitment as a business to adopting more sustainable business practices
  • Minimising negative local impacts, like noise and poor air quality, thinking about the impact on local people
  • Sourcing ecological and environmentally friendly products
  • Promoting active travel solutions and supporting green travel to work initiatives  

Larger organisations, with over 250 employees should also commit to:

  • Working towards achieving net zero emissions by 2050, developing a climate action plan which outlines how this will be achieved in the short to medium term ( including interim targets) and integrates climate adaptation into core business activities and investments. This will be reviewed on an annual basis.
  • Identifying a named senior manager to lead and report on your organisation’s success in this area
  • Integrating climate and environment considerations into procurement, sourcing, and supplier management processes, putting in place robust metrics to measure and report supply chain emissions and engaging with suppliers to reduce emissions and increase resilience to climate change
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