Case study: Barnet Council
Barnet Council was awarded London Healthy Workplace Charter excellence accreditation in September 2016.
The work was in progress for approximately 18 months but the three levels of accreditation were achieved in one year. The work has been led by a task and finish group comprising of HR, Learning and Development, Public Health, Communications and Health and Safety.
An initial gap analysis was done to identify the areas in which further work needed to be done, and provide a platform on which to build. The following new policies were developed:
- Healthy Workplace Strategy and action plan
- Mental Health and Wellbeing Policy and Guidance document
- Health and Wellbeing Policy
- Reasonable Adjustments Policy and Guidance document
A number of existing policies were also updated:
- Alcohol, Drugs and Substance Misuse policy
- Code of Conduct
- Smoking at Work
- Attendance Management
The Council’s sickness absence data were analysed and a staff health and wellbeing survey was carried out to help shape a 12 month rolling programme of activities and initiatives. These have included:
- lunch and learn sessions on topics including ‘the truth about food’ for World Diabetes Day and ‘living and working with anxiety and OCD’ for Mental Health Awareness Week
- mental health awareness stalls by MIND for World Mental Health Day and Mental Health Awareness Week
- health MOTs for Heart Month
- blood pressure checks
- a regular running club
- the Council’s first ever sports day
- a football & rounders tournament
In addition, the Council has signed the Time to Change pledge, committing to addressing the stigma that exists around mental health in the workplace. A key part of this has been the commissioning of Acas to provide mental health awareness training for staff and managers, enabling them to understand more about mental health conditions, how to identify signs of mental ill health and how to provide a basic level of support to those who show signs of distress.
Staff have particularly engaged with the sports events, health MOTs and blood pressure checks; and a repeat analysis of our sickness absence data has shown improvement over the last year.