Our people are integral to the success of our strategy. We want to help them grow and develop with the business, so they can continue to create value for our customers. On joining Northgate, all our people receive an induction that equips them with the knowledge and skills to maximise performance and progress their careers.

The composition of our workforce at 30 April is as follows:

. 2019 2018
. Male Female Total Male Female Total
UK & Ireland 1,361 625 1,986 1,288 475 1,763
Spain 778 410 1,188 735 388 1,123
Total 2,139 1,035 3,174 2,106 894 3,000

The gender split at a senior management level is as follows:

. 2019 2018
. Male Female Male Female
Directors 4 2 5 2
Senior managers 15 4 21 5

Health, safety and working environment

Our approach to health and safety is simple: to ensure no harm comes to anyone working with Northgate and those who may be affected by our business activities. As employers we believe we should mitigate health, safety and environment risks within our control to an acceptable level whilst working closely with our employees so they understand and embrace requirements. 

Our ‘Safe and sound’ programme creates an environment of openness and awareness, where all colleagues feel able to raise concerns about working practices and conditions. We provide regular training to employees, most of which our Health, Safety & Environment team carries out. 

This year, we held a health, safety and environmental awareness week across the Group and this platform was used to further promote HSE engagement and cultures across all functions and levels of the business. The campaign was a tremendous success and we believe it will assist in our goal of raising awareness and continuous improvement. 

The Health, Safety & Environment team reviewed the performance of health, safety and environment management systems at all locations across the Group during the year, and where necessary identified improvements, or monitored compliance with Group policy. 

We measure health and safety performance across the business using an Accident Frequency Rate (AFR). This is calculated as the number of lost time incidents, multiplied by 100,000, divided by the number of hours worked. These figures were as follows:

. 2019 2018 2017
UK & Ireland 0.7 0.9 0.8
Spain 1.6 1.9 1.9
Group 1.0 1.2 1.2

We aim to have as low an AFR as possible. However, due to the nature of our business, it is difficult to find a suitable comparison we can use to create a meaningful target for AFRs. Therefore we simply aim to minimise the number. We also monitor AFRs using previous performance. If there were to be a significant decline in performance, then we would perform a root cause analysis, on top of the continuous monitoring already in place.

Internal communications

The Group mixes face-to-face, digital and traditional communication channels to maximise the impact of internal communications.

Training

We use multiple training platforms for our employees. These include Leadership and Operations Academies in the UK, and the Northgate Campus online platform in Spain.

Equality and human rights

Northgate is committed to equality and considers applicants without prejudice, judging applications for employment on merit with no bias based on race, nationality, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation or politics. 

We communicate our ethical standards to employees through the Group’s Code of Business Conduct. This covers bribery, competition, conflicts of interest, inside information, confidentiality, gifts and entertainment, discrimination, harassment and fair dealing with customers and suppliers. In addition, the Group’s whistleblowing policy and procedure means every employee can have a voice and a way of drawing concerns to our attention.

Workforce Advisory Panel

This year the Northgate Board were keen to understand more about how the employees of the Group feel about our strategy and whether Northgate is a great place to work. As a result, we set up a Workforce Advisory Panel consisting of panel members voted for by their colleagues to represent them.

The panel is one of a number of ways in which the Board aims to improve engagement at Northgate and is headed by non-executive Director, Claire Miles. It aims to meet regularly throughout the year and will provide invaluable feedback and insight from employees, on which we can take action.