Awards recognise and celebrate diversity in the workplace


The winners of the Northern Ireland Equality and Diversity Awards 2018 were recently announced (23 March 2018) at Titanic Belfast.


The awards provide companies with an opportunity to showcase their commitment to advocating equality and diversity in their organisations.  They are organised by Legal-Island, a local independent multi-award-winning workplace compliance company, in association with NICVA and sponsored by Diamond Recruitment Group and Jones Cassidy Brett. Private sector (SMEs and large employers), charities, not for profit organisations and public sector bodies were all eligible to apply. The winners were:


Best Employer for Diversity and Equality in Northern Ireland – Small Company:

Winner – Northern Ireland Office


Best Employer for Diversity and Equality in Northern Ireland – Large Company: 

Winner – Clanmil Housing Association

Highly Commended – Deloitte


Best Gender Initiative:

Winner – Belfast Health and Social Care Trust

Highly Commended – Pinsent Masons


Best LGBT Initiative:

Winner – Pinsent Masons

Highly Commended – Queen’s University Belfast


Best Disability Initiative:

Winner – NOW Group

Highly Commended – Belfast Health and Social Care Trust


Individual Diversity Champion:

Winner – Teresa McDonough from Habinteg Housing Association

Highly Commended, Adele Davidson, HR Manager – Equality, Inclusion & Legal, Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service.


Individual Diversity Champion – Education Sector:

Winner – Professor Tom Millar, Queen’s University Belfast

Highly Commended – Dr Philip McDermott, Ulster University


Congratulating all of the winners and highly commended entrants, Barry Phillips, Chair of Legal-Island, organisers of the awards, said: “This year’s Northern Ireland Equality and Diversity Awards have been a great success.  They recognised that organisations such as Northern Ireland Office, Clanmil Housing Association, Belfast Health & Social Care Trust, Pinsent Masons and the NOW Group are pioneering new standards of equality and diversity practices and driving the diversity agenda in Northern Ireland. The awards also provide a wonderful opportunity for sharing best practice and acknowledging the efforts of staff that are working consistently to further organisational objectives in this area.”


Barry Phillips added:  “There are legal requirements associated with equality and diversity due to the importance of the issue.  However, it is essential that employers view equality and diversity as much more than just a legal tick box exercise. Valuing diversity and recognising the multi-faceted benefits that it brings will help businesses and organisations to thrive.  Driving diversity in the workplace will help drive it into the community outside too. This can only be good for Northern Ireland.”


Legal-Island, which is headquartered in Antrim, is the go-to place for expert workplace compliance. It helps HR professionals understand employment law and how it applies to their workplace.


Award sponsor, Tina McKenzie, Group Managing Director for Diamond Recruitment’s parent company Staffline Group, congratulated all the entrants:

“I think it is extremely positive that so many companies have entered the awards this year. That in itself serves as an indication that they recognise the importance of equality and diversity. We live in a global market with our local companies competing on a global scale so Northern Ireland is increasingly becoming recognised as having highly skilled people in a range of specialist areas.


“Employers need the right person with the right skillset to help them deliver their organisational objectives, and that means having a diversity of skills, perspectives and backgrounds in their teams.  They value diversity and the Northern Ireland Equality and Diversity Awards are a fantastic channel for recognising what employers are doing to maintain an equal and diverse workplace. The awards also allow the wider community to celebrate in the success of individuals, groups and companies.”


Award sponsor Jones Cassidy Brett, a niche employment law firm based in Belfast, which is renowned for its expertise in employment and equality law, remarked on the innovation within the winning applicants: “We are seeing employers being creative and consultative in relation to equality and diversity. They are speaking to their employees, drawing on best practice and establishing programmes and activities that support their staff and meet the legal requirements. It’s really encouraging to see. Well done to all the applicants.”