CSR in the public sector

agendaNi reviews the CSR efforts of some of Northern Ireland’s public sector bodies.

NI Water

NI Water’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy defines how as a business it is committed to behaving ethically, contributing to the economic development of Northern Ireland and to producing a cleaner environment while improving the quality of life of its workforce and the local community.

NI Water has an established CSR Committee who have three key objectives to focus on for the coming year. These are linked to delivering the corporate strategy and for 2016/17 are:

1.   colleagues – to focus on staff engagement covering health and wellbeing, sporting activities, staff training and development, social events and charity activity.

2.   community – to focus on staff community engagement, particularly the NI Water Cares Challenge volunteering scheme, individual mentoring and also to cover activities that benefit communities such as its education programme, schools liaison, customer events and procurement.

3.   environment – to focus on areas such as its ‘zero harm’ ambition, actions to improve staff health and safety e.g. the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Gold Award and the Health and Safety Focus Group. It seeks to celebrate NI Water’s good work in environmental management, energy consumption, sewage related debris reduction, climate change, water efficiency, sustainable catchment management and biodiversity. 

Northern Ireland Housing Executive

The Housing Executive is Northern Ireland’s strategic housing authority and as such is the landlord of almost 90,000 homes and has approximately 3,000 staff located across Northern Ireland.  

It supports local communities in a variety of ways including working with over 500 community groups as part of our Housing Community Network and within the Building Relationships in Communities programme. NIHE also fund small projects, for example, funded tea dances for the over 50s in Coleraine, a mushroom growing business for teenagers in Cloughmills and defibrillator training in Belfast.

Last year, staff volunteering reached over 1,620 hours. Speaking about the efforts the NIHE put into CSR, a spokesperson said: “We had teams involved in many activities including the redecoration of a ‘Men’s shed’ following a fire, the BITC Action Cancer Care’s Shop Challenge, where we won the Judge’s Choice Award and legacy volunteering with Marie Curie’s Helper service, Childline, Concern and many others.

“We support our staff with a wide range of benefits such as flexible working patterns, staff pensions, a Fitech Health Screening Programme, smoking cessation clinics, corporate gym membership, a Cycle to Work Scheme, Childcare Vouchers, a mentoring programme and much more.”

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