Corporate Social Responsibility
The Consumer Council is committed to upholding our Corporate Social Responsibility, which informs all our activities and initiatives.
Learning and Development
We encourage staff to participate in learning and development opportunities to broaden their knowledge and skills. Some recent initiatives are detailed below:
Public Service Ombudsman Training and Complaint Resolution
Our Consumer Protection Team have all completed Public Service Ombudsman Training and Complaint Resolution training.
National Energy Action City & Guilds Qualification – Energy Efficiency
The Consumer Council’s staff have completed the National Energy Action City and Guilds’ qualification in Energy Efficiency. This training has raised staff’s understanding of energy efficiency measures, which they can then share in our communications and outreach activities.
Friends Against Scams
The Consumer Council supports ‘Friends Against Scams’, which is a National Trading Standards (NTS) Scams Team initiative. The project aims to protect and prevent people from falling victims to scams by providing them with the necessary information to ‘Take a Stand Against Scams’. Our staff have undertaken the ‘Friends Against Scams’ training, which has helped them to understand and talk about scams, as well as inform local communities about how to protect themselves and prevent scams.
Consumer Rights Act 2015 Training
The Consumer Council’s staff have completed the Trading Standards Institute’s training course and assessment in the Consumer Rights Act 2015 V2. This training has increased staff’s knowledge of consumer rights, which can now be drawn upon in our outreach activities and educational materials.
We support local charitable and fundraising initiatives. Some recent initiatives are detailed below.
Bryson Christmas Family Appeal
Staff in The Consumer Council have supported the Bryson Christmas Family Appeal for a number of years. This includes the purchase of gifts, including toys, clothing and toiletries, for a family that the charity has allocated to us.
Save the Children Christmas Jumper Day
The Consumer Council has supported Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day annually since 2016. Staff raise funds by wearing festive jumpers, which put them in the running to be crowned Christmas Jumper “King” and “Queen”.
National Energy Action ‘Bake Off’ Afternoon
The Consumer Council supported National Energy Action’s (NEA) campaign to end fuel poverty. Staff held a ‘bake off’ style coffee afternoon, raising a total of £95 for NEA.
Search for Scrubs Fabric Fund
Members of staff at The Consumer Council ran, cycled and walked to help raise money for the Search for Scrubs Fabric Fund, to help this team of Northern Ireland ‘stitchers’ to buy fabric that will be used to create scrubs for frontline NHS staff. Over £1,000 was raised in March 2020 by staff.
Events and Partnerships
We have a number of partnerships to support local communities. Some recent initiatives include:
Train the Advisor
Staff from The Consumer Council deliver ‘Train the Advisor’ workshops to people from the advice sector who work in a consumer-facing role, e.g. staff from advice agencies and MLA constituency offices. The workshops highlight The Consumer Council’s role and how we can help their service users. We also informing participants about consumer and passenger rights, and the tools we have produced to help consumers save money on household bills.
The Consumer Council is part of the Digital Assist steering group, which is co-ordinated by Business in the Community. We work with a number of partner organisations, including the Department of Finance, Supporting Communities NI, BBC and Libraries NI. Our aim is to pool share our skills, expertise and knowledge to reduce the digital divide in Northern Ireland. We are working together to break down the barriers of digital exclusion and help everyone get online.
The Consumer Council is part of the ScamwiseNI Partnership, which aims to make people wise to scams. It includes The Police Service of Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Policing Board, Department of Justice, Commissioner of Older Persons, Trading Standards Service, Age Sector Platform, Royal Mail and banking and financial organisations. For more information visit www.nidirect.gov.uk/campaigns/scamwiseni
UK Complaint Handling Awards
In March 2019 we were presented the Silver Award in the Pro-active Complaints Handling Category, and the Bronze Award in Complaints Management Process (Business to Consumer) at the national UK Complaint Handling Awards. In 2020 we won the Silver Award for Best Customer Service.
CIPFA Northern Ireland Public Finance Awards
We were awarded the Public Finance Team of the Year at the CIPFA Northern Ireland Public Finance Awards in October 2018 and again in October 2019.
In March 2018 we were a finalist in the Procurement Team of the Year category at the 2018 Go Awards.
Customer Service Excellence Standard
In October 2017 we have achieved the Customer Service Excellence Standard for our commitment to high quality customer service. We have continued to be re-accredited annually since 2017. In 2022 we received our best results yet with 35 Compliant and 22 Compliance Plus achievements.
Family Friendly Employer Awards
In October 2019 we were a finalist at the Family Friendly Employer Awards organised by Employers for Childcare.
Cycle Friendly Employer
In November 2019 we achieved a Bronze Standard Cycle Friendly Employer accreditation from Cycling UK.
Diversity Mark NI
In November 2019 we achieved the Bronze Diversity Mark from Diversity Mark NI. The Diversity Mark accreditation is awarded to companies following an assessment process which ensures they have reached the required standard of commitment to advancing Diversity and Inclusion. We have a Diversity, Inclusion and Equality Working Group within the organisation.
NI Environmental Benchmarking Survey 2020
In November 2020 we achieved Green Level in the Northern Ireland Environmental Benchmarking Survey.
Investors in People
In March 2021 we achieved the Investors in People Gold accreditation for our commitment to our staff.
British Standard 18477
In April 2021 we achieved the British Standard 18477 Inclusive Service Provision, the best practice requirements for identifying and responding to consumer vulnerability. The Consumer Council is the first organisation in Northern Ireland to achieve this Standard.
In January 2022 we retained the accreditation for another year.
CorpComms Covid Awards
In May 2021 we were Highly Commended at the CorpComms Covid Awards for our communications work during COVID-19.
Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Strategy
Read our Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Strategy here.