Sustainability Report 2020

About us

Social

We focus our social sustainability activities around the communities we serve, our workplace and marketplace, and the environment we work hard to protect.

Our employees are central to the success of our business. They are the driving force, the creative intelligence and the passionate energy behind all of our achievements. Investing in the workplace allows us to attract and retain the best people.

During 2020, we continued our commitment to developing the skills and competencies of staff, delivering several new training programmes, supporting our staff through COVID-19 and providing a suite of tools and resources to enable all our employees.

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Employee statistics

Total number of employees

44 Temporary

Contract (perm/temp)

505 Permanent

15 Part Time

Type (full time/part time)

534 Full Time

155 Female

Gender

394 Male

Region

Dublin

253

Cork

279

Regional

14

Brussels (ENTSOG)

2  

NI

1  

a. Total number and rate of new employee hires during the reporting period, by age group, gender and region.

Age

18-20

1

20-30

15

30-40

12

40-50

6

50-60

2

7 Female

Gender

19 Male

10 Dublin

Region

16 Cork

b. Total number and rate of employee turnover during the reporting period, by age group, gender and region.

Age

20-30

3

30-40

4

40-50

4

3 Female

Gender

8 Male

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Parental Leave

b. Total number of employees that took parental leave, by gender.

Gender

Male

5

Female

33

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Labour Management Relations

Minimum notice periods regarding operational changes

We engage with all employees and representatives when implementing significant operational change. We have long established approaches to operational change including employee consultation and notice as well as relevant representatives through our recognised Group of Unions.

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Training and education

a. Average hours of training that employees have undertaken during the reporting period, by: i. gender; and ii. employee category.

Gender

Total

Female

3.46

Male

2.22

Grand Total

2.60

Person Type

Total

Fixed Term

3.86

Permanent

2.58

Specific Purpose

2.20

student/intern

0.78

Grand Total

2.60

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Performance Reviews

All of our employees participate in our annual performance management process which involves monthly performance discussions and three significant checkpoints including objective setting at the beginning of the year, a formal mid-year and end of year review. Each employee takes part in this process and managers have an objective included in their own performance reviews to ensure focus in this area.

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Collective bargaining agreements

We support the right of all employees to join a trade union, we operate under collective bargaining negotiations and agreements and work effectively with the Group of Unions.

Under GDPR, data that relates to membership of a Trade Union is classified as being a ‘special category of personal data’ and ‘sensitive personal data’, therefore the data of union members is subject to a high level of protection and we do not monitor total membership numbers.

We engage with the group of unions from the onset of any change programme and we continue to work together until the implementation of any change. We do not have set numbers of weeks’ notice for business change processes but our collective agreement ‘Response 2000’ outlines our consultation and partnership approach. For all major change initiatives a working group with both company and trade union representatives is set up to examine the issue and develop mutually agreeable solutions.

Occupational Health and Safety

Work Safe Home Safe

Our Work Safe Home Safe programme continued to grow in scope and ambition in 2020 and proved to be a considerable workforce benefit during the COVID-19 pandemic. The programme includes a suite of initiatives across safety, health and well-being. Key health and wellbeing initiatives focused around Mind, Body and Life with a pivoted focus on supporting our colleagues in response to COVID-19.

2020 initiatives:

  • Health Screening (this is to continue in 2021 as we didn’t get to complete due to Covid) 754 employees across Ervia had screenings completed
  • Virtual People Awards ceremony
  • Banking at work – financial wellbeing webinar
  • Steps Challenge
  • Workplace Wellbeing Day – 1st May
  • World Mental Health Day
  • Flu Vaccine Programme
  • Marie Keating Cancer webinars
  • Time for you Thursdays
  • Yoga Classes
  • Back Care Programme
  • Food Choice Ireland - Ervia partnered with Food Choice Ireland, a company founded by dieticians in University College Cork to provide regular nutritional information to employees.

We also implemented a suite of extra resources to support colleagues during COVID-19 including:

  • Remote working health and wellbeing guidance
  • Manager guidance for effective teamwork, including 1-2-1 tips for managers
  • Email, Zoom and conference call etiquette
  • Key contact information and supports
  • New blog with parenting tips and supports
  • Work Well Podcast with Brian Crooke including topics such as mental health, parenting and remote working

Total LTIFR – Employees (>1 day)#/100k hours

2016

0.11

2017

0.23

2018

0.36

2019

0.0

2020

0.11

We use the Lost Time Incident Frequency Rate (LTIFR) to track thenumber of employee accidents per 100,000 hours worked that result in a staff member needing to take >1 day off work.

Safety is a core value at Gas Networks Ireland. The Work Safe Home Safe safety culture programme has been in place since 2015 and we continue to work to improve our safety performance.

Safety Management System

We put safety at the heart of everything we do. It is our goal that our activities and assets shall not cause harm to anyone.

Our Safety Management System is certified by the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) to the ISO 45001:2018 standard for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems. Our Safety Management system was recertified by the NSAI for another three years in 2020. The scope of the certification covers the development, design, construction, maintenance and operation of our gas transportation networks in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man and the management of leak detection for the natural gas distribution network in the Republic of Ireland.

The 2020 recertification audit also recertified our ISO 14001 Environmental Management System, ISO 9001 Quality Management System, ISO 50001 Asset Management System and ISO 55001 Energy Management Systems. This was the first time that the NSAI had recertified five management systems in one integrated audit. Most of the audit was conducted remotely due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The Safety Management System applies to all employees and all workplaces controlled by the business. Aspects of the Safety Management System also apply to service delivery partners where they are working in our workplaces or on our assets.

Additionally, we require that service delivery partners operate safety management systems that align with ours and we seek details of key service delivery partner safety management systems and safety performance as part of our procurement processes. We also undertake audits, inspections and other activities appropriate to the nature and level of risk of the goods and services during the contract.

Hazard Identification, Risk Assessment and Incident Investigation

Gas Networks Ireland has a written process for undertaking hazard identification and risk assessment processes. All our workplaces and tasks have written risk assessments completed. These are reviewed on a regular basis and when changes are made to existing sites, for example, after the completion of capital works projects. New risk assessments are completed for new tasks, locations and situations as required. An annual plan for reviewing and updating risk assessments is prepared and monitored.

In 2020, in addition to the routine review of existing risk assessments, COVID-19 risk assessments were completed for all key work tasks and office locations.

Risk assessments are completed and reviewed by competent safety professionals in conjunction with subject matter experts from the business, including, as required, operational field staff.

All personnel are encouraged to report workplace hazards (HAZCONs), i.e. abnormal or unsafe situations or behaviours that have the potential to cause harm. By identifying, correcting and reporting such instances, potential accidents are prevented. Our employees can report HAZCONs via a Sharepoint site or, since 2019, via a HAZCON application on corporate mobile phones and tablets. The HAZCON app enables our people to report safety risks and dangers from field, site or office locations by uploading photos, as well as GPS locations, so that hazards can be addressed as soon as possible.

Examples of good HAZCONs are published on noticeboards and the individuals who reported them are given credit.

Employees reported 553 HAZCONs in 2020, this was lower than normal due to most staff working from home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2020, the HAZCON app won the “Health and Safety Initiative of the Year” at the Networks Awards 2020 in the UK. The “Health and Safety Initiative of the year” awards recognises exceptional commitment to all-round health and safety and is awarded to organisations who demonstrate an innovative, robust and high-quality safety management system and evidence of health and safety performance that goes beyond statutory requirements.

Key service delivery partners are required, via the terms of their contracts, to operate similar hazard reporting systems. In 2020, service delivery partners reported 2,171 hazard reports.

We have a comprehensive Accident/ Incident Manual in place which covers the arrangements for reporting and investigating accidents and incidents (unplanned events, which whilst not actually resulting in injury, had the potential to do so). The purpose of accident and incident reporting is to identify the causes so that action may be taken to prevent their recurrence.

The Accident/ Incident Manual was reviewed and updated in 2020. Findings from accidents and incidents are reviewed at the Networks Safety Management Committee – a steering committee, chaired by our Managing Director, which meets six - eight times per year to consider safety performance and improvement initiatives.

Service delivery partners undertaking field work on our assets, are required to report accidents and incidents under the terms of their contracts and are also required to provide details of any investigations undertaken into these accidents/ incidents.

Worker Participation, Consultation and Communication

Employees select representative(s) to represent them on safety and health matters in consultations with the company. We encourage and facilitate the appointment of safety representatives (and if required, the election of same), appropriate to the number and geographic spread of personnel and the nature of the activities undertaken in the business.

We provide safety representatives with training, time and resources to enable them to perform their roles.

A formal Safety Committee normally meets at least once per year. Informal consultation with safety representatives takes place regularly. In 2020 the Safety Committee did not meet due to the COVID-19 health restrictions.

Instead, Safety Representatives (amongst others) were appointed Worker Representatives under the COVID-19 Work Safety Protocol. Consultation on COVID-19 working arrangements took place via a number of fora including our Employee Forum and dedicated meetings with Worker Representatives. Worker representatives were provided with training on their rights and roles.

In addition to Safety Representatives and Committees we are committed to informing, communicating and consulting with our colleagues and partners through various methods including;

  • Safety presentations and briefings to staff and contractors.
  • Formal and informal meetings between line managers and staff.
  • Safety Leadership Conversations at buildings, sites and workplaces. In 2020, telephone and videoconferencing (e.g. Zoom calls) were also permitted as means of conducting Safety Leadership Conversations due to the public health restrictions in place. Managers and leaders undertook 650 Safety Leadership Conversations in 2020. This includes approximately 360 one-to-one home workstation assessments undertaken by line managers with their staff.
  • Intranet site – The Zone.
  • Other company publications e.g. Connected (quarterly magazine), Staying Connected (weekly ezine).
  • Senior management round table sessions and roadshows.
  • Employee involvement in risk assessments.
  • Safety posters and performance information on noticeboards.
  • Employee involvement in the development and review of new and revised procedures.
  • Hazard and accident/ incident reporting systems.
  • Employee participation in the review and selection of personal protective equipment (PPE). In 2020 we appointed a new PPE supplier – safety representatives were involved in the specification of PPE for the contract and the review/ rating of PPE samples provided by tenderers during the procurement process.
  • Employee participation in working groups focussed on safety issues (e.g. safe driving).
  • Development and circulation of safety bulletins and alerts by email and hardcopy, as appropriate.
  • Communication of accident/ incident investigation findings.
Worker Training on Occupational Health and Safety

All personnel, regardless of their position, receive basic safety training, which includes:

  • Information on health and safety legislation.
  • Information on our Safety Statement/ Safety Management System and safety related roles and responsibilities.
  • Information on workplace hazards and controls for site/ manual workers and office-based workers.
  • Occupational health and welfare issues.
  • Basic manual handling awareness/ skills.
  • Basic first aid awareness.
  • Basic fire safety, including the use of fire extinguishers.

This mandatory training is provided and managed by our Technical Training Centre every three years. The content, effectiveness and frequency of this training are continuously reviewed. Additionally, we operate a technical competency management system whereby minimum levels of safety and technical competency are identified for safety-critical roles in the business. Workers in these roles are assessed against these competencies and any gaps are identified for closure. The process involves training, mentoring, on the job learning and formal assessment. The competency management system applies both to selected employee and service delivery partner roles.

Safety Performance

We actively monitor our safety performance, measuring a number of key safety performance indicators. Several of these form part of the overall corporate balanced score card of which safety comprises 15%. Of the 15%, lagging indicators form 6% and leading indicators form 9%.

The 2020 Safety Balanced Scorecard performance is reported below:

Level 1 Metrics

2020 Actual

Serious Injuries/Fatalities (monthly) => 3% weighting

Zero

Safety Composite 12% weighting

=> 3% Incident Rate

97%

=> 9% Leading

97%

Level 2 Metrics - Composite Breakdown

2020 Actual

Incident Rates


a. Total LTIR – Employees

0.11

b. Total LTIR – Contractors

0.32

Leading KPIs


a. Integrated HSQE Inspections

644

b. Integrated HSQE Audits

28

c. CAR Closure Rate

99%

d. HAZCONs raised by staff

553

e. Safety Conversations/Tours

650

f. HiPo – completion of HiPo investigations within 1 calendar month

100%

g. Completion of the Work Safe Home Safe programme (Continuous Improvement Initiatives)

97%

There was a single employee Lost Time Injury (LTI) in early 2020. The incident was of low severity and the individual returned to work within three days. The employee total Lost Time Injury Rate (LTIR) was 0.11 and the reportable LTIR was 0.00. In February 2021, we reached the milestone of one year without an employee LTI and in March 2021 we achieved 1M hours worked without an employee LTI. This represents excellent safety performance.

We also measure the safety performance of service delivery partners that work in the field on our assets (these are the workers who are most directly affected by our activities and assets). These service delivery partners worked a total of over 1.24M hours in 2020 and recorded a total LTIR of 0.32.

Of the Lost Time Incidents that did occur in 2020, half were related to manual handling or body movement and one third were associated with interaction with plant or equipment. The remainder were associated with being struck by a falling object.

Leading indicators include the number of Health, Safety, Quality and Environmental audits and inspections undertaken, the closure rate for Corrective Action Reports (actions arising from audits, incident investigations etc.) the completion of investigations into High Potential incidents (HiPos ) within defined time criteria and the completion of safety improvement initiatives.

We are proud of this excellent performance; however, we continue to strive to achieve zero injuries in line with our stated Safety Policy goal that “our activities and assets shall not cause harm to anyone”.

Apprenticeship programme

At the end of 2020, we fully completed our first apprenticeship programme in thirty years with apprentices across three craft areas, Mechanical Fitting, Electrical Instrumentation and Pipefitting.

The apprentices have now successfully achieved their respective trade certification and ten of these apprentices have joined the company on a permanent basis.

In 2018 we took on a further seven apprentices across three craft areas including electrical instrumentation, mechanical automation & maintenance fitting and plumbing.

Apprenticeship programmes are an integral part of our workforce plans. These programmes help to ensure that we have a strong technical talent pipeline developing throughout the organisation now and into the future.

Learning and Development

In 2020 we supported:

...
Online learning – 11,000 course registrations and bookings across Ervia
...
‘LearnWorks’ platform– (LearnWorks is used to support learning in Ervia including booking for virtual calendar of events training, support materials for development programmes, resource materials for people managers and senior leaders as well as community of practice forums)
...
2,700 learning hours completed (all Ervia) on over 360 courses Inspire Mentoring Programme with 17 mentors and 11 mentees
...
17 Mentors,
11 mentees
Leadership
Development

Diversity and Inclusion

We are committed to creating a dynamic, diverse and inclusive place to work where everyone feels a sense of belonging. Across the Ervia organisation there is a diverse workforce of 34 different nationalities, people of all ages coming from many social and ethnic backgrounds.

Diversity in numbers

Gender

Male

Female

394

155

Region

Dublin

Cork

Regional

Brussels (ENTSOG)

NI

253

279

14

2

1

Gender – 72% Male, 28% Female
Age group: under 30 years old – 7.8%, 30-50 years old – 59%, over 50 years old – 33%

Information related to membership of a minority or vulnerable group is voluntarily disclosed by employees and as a result we do not currently hold information required on our HR systems.

Throughout 2020, Ervia’s iBelong Diversity and Inclusion Programme continued to focus on creating a dynamic, diverse and inclusive working community where employees feel a sense of belonging and embedding a diversity and inclusion strategy within the organisation. The programme was originally launched in 2019 with the purpose of enshrining diversity and inclusion in the workplace through the creation of a Diversity and Inclusion strategy, implementation of the iBelong strategic plan from 2019-2023, and the introduction of a series of metrics and measurements to track progress in this space.

The iBelong Diversity and Inclusion programme of work is overseen by the Diversity and Inclusion Council, which includes employee representatives from all levels of the organisation and executive sponsorship. In 2019 and 2020, initial priority was given to gender diversity at Ervia, supported by the launch of the iBelong Women’s Network, Ervia’s first employee resource group.

The Diversity and Inclusion Index was introduced to the Balanced Scorecard in 2020 and further metrics were proposed in the roll out of Unconscious Bias training and the elimination of single sex candidate shortlists in the recruitment and selection process.

Further highlights of 2020 included two further employee groups, the iBelong Rainbow Network, and the iBelong Family Network. A review of female talent at all levels of the organisation resulted in the creation and launch of a Female Talent Development Programme. Furthermore, a review of the Ervia HR policies was also undertaken with a view to improving and enhancing our policies from a Diversity and Inclusion perspective in 2021 and 2022. The iBelong programme received a 2020 Global Gartner Communications Award for Excellence in Employee Engagement.

Focusing on Female Talent

We launched the Female Talent Development Programme in Sept 2020, which is part of a broader Ervia iBelong D&I initiative. The aim of the programme is to support and motivate identified female employees, focus on their individual growth and career progression through networking, assertiveness skills, authentic self-promotion, interview training amongst other initiatives. The programme is six months in duration and participants can choose which elements of the programme they wish to undertake (and are most applicable to where they are in their career). In this way, time commitments are workable to everyone’s needs.

Employee Engagement

We truly appreciate the contribution that every employee makes to ensure the success of the organisation.

We survey our employees’ opinions regularly, listen to their feedback, ensure they are engaged and that they know their work matters.

In 2020 we delivered a vast array of employee engagement initiatives including:

  • Staff Communications through Managing Director hosted All Hands, Executive Open-Door Sessions, Employee Forums and All Company information series
  • Staff wellbeing initiatives
  • Corporate communication tools including ‘Staying Connected’ e-zine and Intranet website ‘The Zone’
  • Employee award programmes
  • Crisis response procedures to support staff through the COVID-19 pandemic

Fair Wage

A culture that engages, excites and empowers our people and workforce is essential to achieving our ambitions and delivering on our strategy. Fair compensation is an important factor in achieving this. All our employees are paid beyond the Living Wage.

Agile Working

In 2019 Agile Working was introduced across the business, facilitating employees to work one day a week from another Ervia location or from their own home. The adoption of Agile Working practices served the company well during the global pandemic, with all office-based employees previously set up with home working access. In 2021 the Ervia Group will review options to develop Agile Working further into the future.

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Remuneration

Remuneration Committee

The Remuneration Committee’s responsibilities are set out in its Terms of Reference, which is available at www.ervia.ie. The Remuneration Committee held 7 meetings during the year.

Key activities undertaken by the Remuneration Committee in 2020 include:

  • Review of the CEO’s and other senior managers’ performance for 2019.
  • Review and consideration of Talent and Succession plans.
  • Review of the Ervia pay model.
  • Appointment of Ervia Chief Executive Officer.
  • Appointment of Ervia Chief Legal Officer.
  • Appointment of Ervia Chief Financial Officer.
  • Set and review performance as per 2020 scorecards.
  • Consideration of the results of the employee engagement survey.
  • Annual review of executive pay.
  • Review of Diversity and Inclusion initiatives.
  • Ervia Superannuation Scheme Actuarial Valuation.
  • Single Public Utility pension implications.
  • Project 23 pension implications.

Pensions

The Group operates a defined benefit scheme and a defined contribution scheme.

Defined benefit scheme

The Group operates one externally funded defined benefit pension scheme in Ireland. The level of benefits provided depends on members’ length of service and their pensionable salary when they leave the scheme, i.e. a ‘final salary’ scheme. Increases are generally provided to pensions in payment on a discretionary basis with a long-term target of price inflation. The defined benefit scheme is administered by a Board of Trustees which comprises member and employer representatives. The Board of Trustees is responsible for the management and governance of the scheme including compliance with all relevant laws and regulations. The assets of the scheme are held separately from those of the Group in trustee administered funds. The scheme is subject to independent actuarial valuations at least every three years. The latest valuation of the defined benefit scheme was carried out as at 1 April 2020 by a qualified actuary. The next actuarial valuation is due with an effective date of 1 April 2023. Further information regarding our pension schemes can be found in the Ervia annual report page 114.

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Employee benefits

All benefits as per benefits wheel below are available to all employees – there is a 1-year qualification period for sick leave.

2020

2019

€’000

€’000

(a) Aggregate employee benefits

Staff short-term benefits

(50,174)

(47,985)

Post-employment benefits - pensions contributions*

(13,500)

(9,803)

Social insurance costs

(5,392)

(5,580)

(69,066)

(63,368)

Capitalised payroll and other payroll transfers

12,755

11,421

Employee benefit expense charged to profit or loss

(56,311)

(51,947)

...
Core Benefit
  • Pension Scheme
  • 2½ company days, 24 days annual leave
  • Sick pay scheme, Income Protection, Death in Service
  • Educational Assistance
  • Paid Marriage/Civil Partnership
  • Paid Paternity Leave
  • Enhanced Maternity Leave pay
  • Compassionate Leave
  • Other Statutory Leaves:
  • Parental, Parents,
  • Carer's, Force Majeure
...
Financial Wellbeing
  • Tax Saver Ticket
  • Employees Credit Union
  • Home Computer Purchase discount
  • Microsoft Home Programme Scheme
  • AXA Insurance Group Discount scheme (car/home insurance)
  • Christmas Saving Facility
  • Onsite Banking: Bank of Ireland
  • Long Service Awards
  • Professional Subscriptions
...
Physical Wellbeing
  • Cycle to Work Scheme
  • Onsite fitness room
  • Staff Restaurant
  • Flu vaccinations
  • Group Health Scheme:
  • VHI, Lyons: Irish Life, LAYA
  • Eye Care provision
  • Digital Doctor Service
...
Emotional Wellbeing
  • People Awards
  • Agile working
Employee Assistance Programme:
  • EAP online support website
  • Specialist Information
  • Legal / Financial Information
  • Telephone Counselling
  • Face-to-face counselling
  • Wellbeing Week/ initiatives

Long Service Awards

Long Service Awards Total Recipients

Recipients LSA - Cork (including Limerick and Waterford area) - 68.

Recipients LSA - Dublin (including Galway) - 64.

Total Length of Service Combined Dublin - 1367

Total Length of Service Combined Cork - 1092

45 Years - 5

40 Years - 4

35 Year - 7

30 years - 0

25 Years - 4

20 Years - 24

15 Years - 46

10 Years - 37

Combined Years of Service - 2459 Years