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Diversity accreditation marks public sector first

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Date: 15 Jul 2021

Category: Supporting communities

Councillor Seamas de Faoite, Councillor Aine Groogan, and Christine White, head of Diversity Mark, at City Hall.

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

Launched in 2017 by Women in Business, 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 by Members at June’s monthly meeting of Council.  The plan sets out how, over the next three years, Council will continue to focus on promoting gender equality within the organisation as well as within the community and the economy, and across the city as a whole.

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 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 among 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.”

More information on Council’s commitment to supporting inclusion and diversity within its workforce, as well as current job opportunities, can be found at

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