Diversity & Inclusion - A Practical Guide

Diversity & Inclusion - A Practical Guide

Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace: A Practical Guide for Improving Your D&I Package in association with Pinsent Masons and Brook Graham:

Why Dignity & Inclusion and why now?

Is D&I still trendy? Or in Covid-19 times are businesses just working to keep going?

No, the virus has had a diversity field day – it disproportionately impacts on several minority groups, such as older people, BAME groups, the disabled and on the neurodiverse. Indeed, successful organisations have embraced D&I as key to managing the workforce through lockdown and will need to do so as you gradually return to work.

D&I must be as high on the agenda as it was in 2019: it is vital for organisations that want to thrive, be seen as great places to work, recruit and retain staff, and be seen as dealing properly with the impact of lockdown. Whether businesses will be expanding or retracting, a genuine programme of D&I will increase productivity and reduce risks of employee litigation. It is more vital than it has ever been.

We’re bringing together D&I experts that will set out practical options, useful insights, facts and figures that will help you bring your D&I package up to date.

Through a series of short presentations and panel discussions, together with practical templates and checklists, you will leave this online event with a huge number of useful suggestions for you to put into practice as you build your D&I strategy. And because it’s online and recorded, you’ll be able to watch back and catch up on any sessions you miss.

Around 75% of the workforce in 2025 will be Millennials or younger. They will expect their employer to have flexible options for working and to have a diverse and inclusive workforce. The lockdown has established once and for all that, for many, homeworking is a viable option for employers and employees.

You can choose to ‘get with the programme’ or lose out this decade in your search for the best talent.

Sessions include:

  • The Business Case for D&I – employees’ happiness pays for itself.
  • Update on Legal Concepts in D&I – getting it right.
  • Moving from our Traditional Background – embracing new cultures.
  • Neurodiversity and Reasonable Accommodations in the Workplace.
  • Mental Health – building support
  • Learning from the Public Sector – the stride for pride in PSNI.
  • Great Minds Think Unalike – the need to embrace diverse creative thinking
  • Creating Alliances – the importance of allies in supporting colleagues
  • Creating Authenticity – the importance of board and SMT support in the successful development of a D and I culture
  • Diversity & Talent Attraction
  • Does AI need a D&I Reality?
  • Creating a Strategy – a journey not a destination parts 1, 2 & 3.

Who should attend?

This event is aimed at organisations who have, or wish to have, a developed diversity & inclusion strategy. Whether you are in HR, a D&I specialist, or a senior executive who has responsibility for developing a policy, you will leave this event with many useful ideas and templates/checklists and more that will help you develop or further develop your D&I offering.

You will be able to take part in open discussions in order to create a focus for developing and improving your D&I strategy for your journey to a truly diverse and inclusive organisation.

Scribes from Legal Island’s learning and development team will pass on suggestions, ideas and key takeaways from the event to every delegate to further reinforce learning. And you will receive all papers, slides and templates, as well as links to recording sessions after the event.

When & Where?
9.30am - 4.00pm on Wednesday 22rd July 2020. This is an online event and will be hosted on the Hopin platform. 

Early Bird Rate: £295+VAT (deadline Friday 24 April 2020)
Standard Rate: £345+VAT

In association with Pinsent Masons and Brook Graham:

Pinsent Masons/ Brook Graha






Get to Know Us: Familiarise yourself with the functions of our online event to ensure you maximise return on your investment. Scott Alexander, Head of Learning & Development, Legal Island.


Introduction and Welcome: David Johnston, Head of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, PSNI and Seònaid Ó Murchadha, Disability Employment Specialist


Transformational Practicalities

The Business Case for D&I

D&I is now more important than ever before. Hayley Bennett, Brook Graham, sets out how to continue to position D&I by ensuring that everyone understands the "why". 

Hayley will also examine the impact of COVID-19 from a D&I lens and share opportunities to adapt your existing strategies, policies, engagement plans and communications in response to additional and changing need for D&I.     

Takeaway:  An overview of the empirical benefits of adopting a D&I approach and good practice to include in a D&I business case in the light of the COVID-19 crisis.   

Legal Update

Update on Legal Concepts in D&I in Northern Ireland – getting it right. Diversity & Inclusion is much more than equality law but it is, to some extent, contained by employment equality laws, which continue to apply, in spite of any temporary measures introduced by government to lessen the impact of Covid-19 in workplaces. Indeed, there are many equality law issues that arise out of the virus and the lockdown measures – for example, how can parents return to the workplace if there is no available childcare arrangement in place? Paul Gillen, Partner, Pinsent Masons gives an overview of the laws that allow and constrain D&I approaches in the workplace and the types of D&I actions and policies that will be deemed lawful under existing legislation.

Takeaway: Detailed paper and key case law relating to employment equality legislation in Northern Ireland.






Comfort Break– Send in Your Questions


Organisational Insight

Moving from our Traditional Background – embracing new cultures.

Helena Kelly, Project Manager, and Catherine McGinnity R&D Process Development Leader at Sensata Technologies and both Founder Members of the GROW Women's Network, set out a case study where a workforce with a traditional manufacturing background has grown to embrace diversity and new cultures.

Takeaway:  A case study and practical tips on developing an inclusive culture.                             

Transformational Practicalities

Creating alliances – the importance of allies in supporting colleagues

We provide our top 10 Tips on How Organisations Can Enhance Diversity Through Effective Allies. It’s a terrible thing to have to point out but sometimes non-LGBT+ staff can further the cause of equality more quickly than LGBT+ staff themselves. They cannot easily be accused of having vested interests and colleagues not yet on board with the D&I agenda might find them less threatening. Certainly, the more people we have who genuinely support D&I, the better chance we’ll all have of achieving equality for all. Paul Gillen, Partner, Pinsent Masons sets out his experiences of how to get allies involved in LGBT+ discussions.

Takeaway: Examples of successful interactions that have increased allies’ involvement in LGBT+ issues.


Panel Q&A – Send in Your Questions Live: Creating a Strategy – a journey not a destination part one. Our panel of experts take your questions and set out their recommendations for next steps that you can take on your journey to a truly diverse and inclusive organisation. Panellists: Hayley Bennett, Brook Graham; Paul Gillen, Pinsent Masons; Helena Kelly and Catherine McGinnity, Sensata Technologies 


Break and Networking


Organisational Insight

Learning from the Public Sector – the stride for pride in PSNI. The first year that uniformed police officers took part in Belfast Pride was 2017. Given that the march started in 1991, it was clearly a long journey from initial steps to acceptance. Constable Paul Bloomer from the PSNI’s Pride Group set out key milestones on that journey, including initial setbacks, challenges won and lost, and successes savoured, as the PSNI Pride group goes from strength to strength.

Takeaway: A list of practical dos and don’ts for other organisations to consider, should they wish to set up a Pride group to celebrate diversity and take part in Belfast Pride.                          

Legal Update

Update on Legal Concepts in D&I in Ireland – getting it right. Diversity & Inclusion is much more than equality law but it is, to some extent, contained by employment equality laws, in spite of any temporary measures introduced by government to lessen the impact of Covid-19 in Ireland’s workplaces. Ciara Ruane, Senior Associate, Pinsent Masons gives an overview of the laws that allow and constrain D&I approaches in the workplace and the types of D&I actions and policies that will be deemed lawful under existing legislation.

Takeaway: Detailed paper and key case law relating to employment equality legislation in Ireland.







Comfort Break – Send in Your Questions


Transformational Practicalities

Great Minds Think Unalike. Diversity is much more than protection for and acceptance of the need to reflect the nine protected grounds in employment equality law. Organisations need people who think differently, have different intellectual capabilities and different preferences for doing business if organisations are to flourish.

Barry Phillips, CEO of Legal Island, makes a short plea for delegates to embrace diverse creative thinking and to join him and others after this event to explore the ‘Rebel ‘Ideas’ of Matthew Syed and other leading thinkers in the field of D&I. Who knows where it will lead? But it will be fun, and it might be brilliant.

Takeaway: The opportunity to join with other creative thinkers after the event.


Transformational Practicalities

Neurodiversity: Why Workplace Accommodations are More Important Than Ever

We should all know by now that embracing and supporting diversity, including neurodiversity, can help organisations reach out to and attract staff from a wider talent pool, with new ways of thinking and problem solving emerging as a result. Organisations that fail to embrace diversity within inclusive workplaces risk litigation, reputational damage and find themselves unable to attract and retain the kind of talent that will help their business flourish.

This session from Paul Fox, Texthelp Key Account Director, will explore the need for creating accessible and inclusive working practices for all, especially during this period of change when remote working is becoming ever more the norm.

Paul sets out practical actions that have worked across a number of organisations including ITV, Network Rail, Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust.

Takeaway: Several examples of organisations (and cost-effective reasonable accommodations) that are successfully making diversity - and neurodiversity in particular - work for them to deliver tangible business benefits.


Panel Q&A – Send in Your Questions Live: Creating a Strategy – a journey not a destination part two. Our panel of experts take your questions and set out their recommendations for next steps that you can take on your journey to a truly diverse and inclusive organisation. Panellists: Paul Bloomer, PSNI Pride Group; Ciara Ruane, Pinsent Masons; Paul Fox, Texthelp; Barry Phillips, Legal Island.



Lunch and Networking


Welcome Back and Summary. Introduction to Afternoon Sessions: David Johnston, Head of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, PSNI andSeònaid Ó Murchadha, Disability Employment Specialist



Organisational and Personal Insight

Mental Health – building support: A Long Journey Starts with Just One Small Step. In this moving account, Becky Jones, Former Legal Director and Compliance Officer at Coca Cola Hellenic, sets out her story from success to isolation and back again. Becky also sets out what they consider to be the positive outcomes from what, at one time, looked utterly bleak.

Takeaway: Recommended action checklist for employers that might help employees with mental health issues.


Legal Update

Does AI need a D&I Reality?

Artificial intelligence has become an ever-increasing feature in HR, especially in a post Covid-19 world.  But, what are the equality implications?  In this session, we will examine the new forms of AI being deployed in the workplace and society more broadly identifying the equality implications, who is liable for any breaches and how these can be avoided. Robin Allen QC & Dee Masters BL (Cloisters, London, & co-founders of www.ai-lawhub.com) will tackle these pressing and knotty problems.

Takeaway: Detailed analysis of discrimination biases in AI and what we can all do to limit its impact in our workplaces.


Comfort Break – Send in Your Questions


Organisational Insight

Creating Authenticity – The Importance of Board and SMT Support in the Successful Development of a D and I Culture

Andrea McIlroy-Rose, Partner and Head of Office Belfast has been actively involved in the development and implementation of the D&I strategy at Pinsent Masons since joining the firm 8 years ago.  As a member of the firm’s Global Inclusion Strategy Board she has  first-hand knowledge of how the buy in and support of senior managers in an organisation is critical to ensuring that real change happens and that progressive policies and procedures are put in place which have the full backing of the SMT and therefore the staff have the confidence to follow .

Takeaway – Andrea sets out the steps and initiatives used by Pinsent Masons to integrate D&I fully into the firm’s culture and become recognised as a market leader in this area.


Panel Q&A – Send in Your Questions Live: Creating a Strategy – a journey not a destination part three. Our panel of experts take your questions and set out their recommendations for next steps that you can take on your journey to a truly diverse and inclusive organisation. Panellists: Becky Jones; Robin Allen QC & Dee Masters BL, Cloisters; Andrea McIlroy-Rose, Pinsent Masons.


Summary and Close: David Johnston, Head of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, PSNI and Seònaid Ó Murchadha, Disability Employment Specialist


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  • David Johnston
    David Johnston Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

    A Human Resources professional for over 24 years, and interested in equality and diversity matters, most of his career has seen him working in complex and high profile public service organisations, including: Inland Revenue, Police Ombudsman’s office, Northern Ireland Tourist Board, and the Police Service of Northern Ireland. 

  • Hayley Bennett
    Hayley Bennett Diversity & Inclusion Consultant
    Brook Graham

    Hayley Bennett is a Diversity & Inclusion Consultant at Brook Graham, delivering to clients across industry sectors and D&I topics. Hayley has won multiple awards for her work and her specialisms include Inclusive Leadership, advancing BAME talent, and developing impactful mentoring programmes.

    Prior to joining Brook Graham, Hayley worked as a Senior Diversity and Wellbeing Adviser for Business in the Community, providing advice and consultancy some of the UK’s largest employers and global brands. Hayley has also worked at Kick It Out, English football’s equality and inclusion organisation, where her work involved empowering football’s future leaders and educating stakeholders in the game.

    We recently sat down with Hayley for a Q&A, read it in full here: https://www.legal-island.ie/articles/ire/resources/hr-interview-series/2020/mar/interview-with-hayley-bennett/


  • Paul Gillen
    Paul Gillen Partner
    Pinsent Masons

    Paul Gillen is a Partner in the employment & pensions team at Pinsent Masons LLP. Beginning his career in Human Resource Management, he spent more than 10 years working in a variety of HR roles including retail, construction, civil engineering, manufacturing and distribution.

    Paul is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development and is currently vice chair to the Northern Ireland Branch Committee. Paul is a member of the CBI Employment and Skills committee and a Visiting Professor to the School of Law at the University of Ulster.

  • Catherine McGinnity
    Catherine McGinnity Founder & Chair
    GROW Women's Network

    Catherine is R&D Process Development Leader at Sensata Technologies and is a founding member and Chair of the GROW Women's Network.

  • Helena Kelly
    Helena Kelly Project Manager
    Sensata Technologies

    Helena began her career with Schrader Electronics prior to the Sensata acquisition, as a Mechanical Manufacturing Engineer with a specialism in Plastic Laser Welding having completed her final year project on this topic in conjunction with the company. Helena moved to the NPI TPMS team in 2014 as a Project Leader and in the past two years has worked in the HVOR TPMS team as a Project Manager for Truck and Trailer OEM developments.

    Helena is one of the four founders of GROW (Generating Recognition and Opportunities for Women), the first Affinity Group in Antrim specifically to meet the unique needs of women in the workplace.

  • Paul Fox
    Paul Fox Key Account Director/ UK & Ireland Acquisitions Manager

    Paul is Key Account Director and UK & Ireland Acquisitions Manager for Texthelp. Working across a number of key sectors including Government, Public Sector, Health, Third sector, Housing and Private Sector SME's, Paul and his team provide assistive software solutions that help support those organisations in their diversity, inclusion and accessibility journey.

  • Paul Bloomer
    Paul Bloomer Constable/ Co-Chair PSNI LGBT+ Network

    Paul Bloomer is a serving officer in the Police Service of Northern Ireland, joining the Police Service in 2010 following a career in marketing and banking. He has worked in a range of roles in policing including emergency response, community policing and as a liaison officer between the Court service and the PSNI.  He joined what was the Gay Police Association (GPA) on commencement of his service. He was one of the first PSNI officers to march in uniform in a Pride event in Manchester in 2015.

    Constable Bloomer has represented the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s LGBT+ Network at numerous events both at international and local levels.  He helped reform the GPA into the PSNI LGBT+ Network. He was also part of the team which successfully lobbied for the first participation of Northern Ireland Police Officers in uniform in Belfast Pride in August 2017. He currently serves as the Co-Chair of the PSNI LGBT+ Network. He also sits on the European LGBT Police Association general board and National Coordinating Group of the National UK LGBT+ Police Network.

  • Barry Phillips
    Barry Phillips Chairman

    Barry Phillips (CEO) BEM founded Legal Island in 1998. Since then, the company has become the leading workplace compliance training company in the island of Ireland. He was awarded a British Empire Medal in the New Year’s Honours List 2020 for services to employment and equality.

  • Becky Jones
    Becky Jones Legal Function Head
    Coca-Cola HBC

    Becky joined Coca‑Cola HBC Ireland & Northern Ireland in September 2016. As Legal Function Head, she is responsible for maximising commercial opportunities and good corporate governance whilst protecting and managing legal and regulatory risks for the company.  Her key responsibilities include ensuring that Coca-Cola HBC operate in a compliant manner across the IOI, supporting contractual negotiations, providing legal advice across the entire business and delivering training on a range of legal topics.

    Becky loves to mentor and coach people who she meets as she is passionate about developing and growing people and ideas. 

  • Ciara Ruane
    Ciara Ruane Senior Associate
    Pinsent Masons

    Ciara has practiced as a corporate employment lawyer in the Republic of Ireland since 2012. Ciara has experience of advising and representing international and domestic clients in all aspects of employment law in Ireland.  Ciara has particular interest in advising on TUPE queries, drafting and negotiating employment contracts, and assisting clients with corporate immigration and restructuring. In addition, Ciara regularly advises on day-to-day issues such as managing performance and disciplinary matters and has extensive transitional support experience.

  • Dee Masters
    Dee Masters Barrister

    Dee Masters is a recognised expert in discrimination law.  Her practice primarily consists of multi-week trials involving multiple and complex claims.  Due to her expertise, she regularly advises NGOs and government agencies on the development of discrimination law and she has delivered judicial training on discrimination law at ERA in Trier funded by the European Commission. She has advised the Equality Commission of Northern Ireland (ECNI) and the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People (NICCY) on its response to proposed legislation extending the existing prohibition on age discrimination.  In August 2015, she was the keynote speaker at a conference attended by politicians and policy makers in Belfast concerning age discrimination.  Dee has also been advising AGE PLATFORM, an NGO, on a proposed European Directive which will extend the prohibition on age discrimination.  She drafted the Technical Guidance accompanying the ban on age discrimination in goods, facilities and services on behalf of the Equality and Human Rights Commission in GB alongside colleagues in chambers.  In 2018, she gave evidence as an expert witness to the Women and Equalities Committee on older people in the workplace.

  • Robin Allen QC
    Robin Allen QC QC

    Robin Allen QC has appeared in over 145 reported cases in the Industrial Relations Law Reports (more than any other barrister). These include many path-finding appellate cases at the highest level in the UK and Europe. He has been instructed in over 40 cases in the House of Lords/Supreme Court and undertaken test cases in relation to every protected characteristic.   He has undertaken many public interest amicus and intervention briefs, both in the UK and worldwide, for among others the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the Harvard University Law School, Public Concern at Work, and Liberty. He has also given evidence to Parliamentary Committees on the technical aspects of proposed legislation such as the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, and he advised the European Commission on the content of the first two key equality Directives.  He is a consultant to HelpAge International on the UN’s Open Age Working Group on the proposal for a UN Convention on the Rights of Older Persons and to the European Age Platform.

  • Andrea McIlroy-Rose
    Andrea McIlroy-Rose Partner, Head of Office, Belfast
    Pinsent Masons

    Andrea is Head of Pinsent Masons' Belfast office and is a real estate Partner who leads the Belfast property team and the UK retail property team. She is named as a “Leading Individual” and in the “Hall of Fame” for real estate in the Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession and Legal 500 directories.  Andrea has a special interest in diversity and inclusion particularly the promotion and advancement of women.  She was the international chair of the female networking group at Pinsent Masons, Female Futures, for 7 years, with membership now spanning all 26 offices.  She has recently been appointed to the firm’s new Global Inclusion Strategy Board.  Andrea is also responsible for leading Project Sky, the firm’s initiative to create better gender balance at senior levels.  Andrea also sits on the boards of Women in Business and the NI Chamber of Commerce and was one of the co-founders of Women in Property in Northern Ireland.

Event details


9.15am - 4.00pm


22 July 2020


Hopin (Online Platform)


Early Bird Rate: 
Standard Rate: