health & social care
housing & housing services
local government
voluntary sector

Enhancing Workplace Health and Wellbeing

health & social care

housing & housing services

local government

voluntary sector

08:45 - 15:40

Thursday 23 May 2019

Central Manchester

This Forum offers attendees an insight into the latest government initiatives designed to improve the standards of workplace health and wellbeing. Participants will gain a better understanding of workplace strategies to minimise the amount of working days lost due to avoidable health issues. In addition, best practice case studies will share guidance on how to effectively engage with employees and embed methods to tackle issues such as stress and mental health, in order to improve workplace health and wellbeing.


This Forum is designed for the wider public sector to encourage best practice sharing and networking, specifically Central and Local Government, Health and the Voluntary Sector. This will include:

  • Human Resources Professionals
  • Directors of Health and Safety
  • Directors of Occupational Health
  • Heads of Workplace Wellbeing
  • Health and Safety Advisors
  • Health Improvement Advisors
  • Occupational Work Advisors
  • Health Improvement Officers
  • Employee Relations Advisors

This Forum is also open to the Voluntary, Housing and Private sector to encourage networking and partnerships.

Key Speakers Confirmed:
  • Clare Perkins,  Deputy Director, Priorities and Programmes Division, Health Improvement Directorate, Public Health England (PHE)
  •  Tony Vickers-Byrne, Chief Adviser for HR Practice, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)
View the agenda and additional speakers


According to recent data released by CIPD, the annual economic costs of sickness absence and worklessness are estimated to be over £100 billion, while around 330,000 jobs are lost every year because of health-related issues. Furthermore, it is estimated that approximately 1.8 million employees have a long-term sickness absence of four weeks or more in a year. To better support employers the government has established plans to transform workplace health and wellbeing in their ‘Workplace Health: Applying All Our Health’ guidance, in April 2018. According to the guidance employment is a primary determinant of health, impacting both directly and indirectly on the individual, their families and communities. The government has also allocated approximately £4 million in funding to 19 projects tailored to aid individuals manage their health conditions at work. The scheme primarily focused on initiatives that support individuals with mental health or musculoskeletal conditions, which are among the most common health conditions affecting workers.

Furthermore, in November 2018 the Department for Work and Pensions published a new voluntary reporting framework ‘Voluntary Reporting on Disability, Mental Health and Wellbeing’. The framework is tailored towards large employers who want to record and report on disability, mental health and wellbeing at work, in a wider attempt to drive a more inclusive society.

Public Health England have emphasised that there remains a clear North-South divide in the health of the population in England, with the north significantly worse off. It is now more vital than ever that efforts are made to enhance workplace health and wellbeing across the North of the UK. Local authorities must work together with local businesses and the health sector to ensure employees with health conditions are correctly supported and able to stay in work or enter employment.


Registration, Refreshments, and Networking


Chair’s Welcome Address

Dr Alan Page, Course Leader – MSc Occupational Safety, Health, and Environment Management, Middlesex University (CONFIRMED)


Morning Keynote: Developing a Robust Workplace Wellbeing Intervention Policy

  • Outlining the key findings from PHE and RAND Europe’s ‘Promising Practices for Health and Wellbeing at Work’ 2018 report, such as domestic violence, sleep and menopause emerging as growing areas for workplace intervention
  • Sharing best practice examples of how to implement workplace wellbeing evidence into practice to tackle health and sickness absence such as the success of ‘ESCAPE-pain’ in tackling musculoskeletal conditions
  • Working closely with Business in the Community to support employers by generating free, evidence-based toolkits to reduce health and sickness issues, such as mental health, musculoskeletal health and preventing suicide
  • Examining the next steps in tackling health and sickness absence including encouraging employers to conduct a workplace health needs assessment and raising awareness of the tailored toolkits for every employer affected by a health condition

Clare Perkins, Deputy Director, Priorities and Programmes Division, Health Improvement Directorate, Public Health England (PHE) (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Supporting Employers to Effectively Tackle Workplace Stress

  • Highlighting how employers can effectively document and embed stress risk assessments into their wellbeing policy to reduce potential risks in the workplace
  • Sharing guidance on how employees can effectively spot signs of stress and raise awareness of stress signals across the workforce
  • Examining HSE’s ‘Talking Toolkit’, a guide for managers to have practical conversations with employees and the impact it can have on preventing workplace stress
  • Outlining HSE’s 6 Management Standards for employers to implement in order to help prevent poor health, lower productivity and increased accident and sickness absence

Peter Brown, Deputy Director, Health and Work Programme, Health and Safety Executive (HSE) (invited)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Embedding a Culture of Staff Wellbeing Within the Health Sector

  • Outlining the significance of acting on staff feedback for instance ensuring all staff attend Carer Awareness training and setting up networks of Carer Leads and Champions across the organisation
  • Exploring the benefit of ‘The Triangle of Care’, a therapeutic alliance between NHS service user, carers and professionals involved to promote safety, support recovery and sustain wellbeing including leading GMMH to earn the highest award for mental health services at present
  • Assessing what else organisations can do to support their staff such as getting to know your staff, for instance by including an awareness of carers in staff survey and audits and reviewing workplace support such as flexible working
  • Highlighting a case study in which Manchester City Council introduced a Carers Passport in November 2017 facilitating discussions between managers and working carers around the employee’s needs and support required in balancing care responsibilities and work

Neil Grace, Carer Lead, Greater Manchester Mental Health (GMMH) NHS Foundation Trust (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Reflecting on How the Voluntary Sector Help to Enhance Workplace Health and Wellbeing

  • Introducing ‘Mindful Employer’ which offers voluntary sector guidance to employers on good practice around mental health and wellbeing in the workplace locally and nationally
  • Reflecting on the 10 Step Toolkit which focus on engaging employees, educating employers and embedding a sustainable approach to supporting employees
  • Providing case studies of how the 10 Step toolkit has been implemented by local employers in Yorkshire Water and West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service
  • Outlining useful resources and support services for employers going forward

Martha Clowes, Mindful Employer Leeds Coordinator, Leeds Mind (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Lunch and Networking


Afternoon Keynote: Addressing Employee Benefits as a Vehicle to Boost Staff Wellbeing Standards

  • Outlining the key findings from CIPD’s 2018 Reward Management Survey, including the effect financial wellbeing and work to life balance has on workforce wellbeing
  • Examining the relationship between workforce health and wellbeing and workforce performance, including the role financial wellbeing plays within this
  • Sharing guidance on how employers can take a more holistic approach to employees and their wellbeing, including championing a work–life balance policy, to reduce stress and increasing employee retention
  • Outlining the key factors to a robust workplace wellbeing framework including sustainability, productivity and retention, as well as how employers can embed them across their organisation

Tony Vickers-Byrne, Chief Adviser for HR Practice, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Outlining the Government’s New Framework to Support Employers Report Workplace Wellbeing Issues

  • Introducing the framework including its primary purpose to encourage employers to explain which measures they’re taking to support workplace health and wellbeing and regularly report on employer health history and wellbeing surveys
  • Outlining the benefits for employers who voluntarily report information on disability, mental health and wellbeing such as improving employee performance and productivity and setting an industry example in driving a shift towards transparency
  • Providing advice on how employers can collect data for reporting health and wellbeing issues
  • Sharing guidance to support businesses with reporting workplace wellbeing issues, such as advice for line managers on employing people with a disability or health condition and the Disability Confident employer scheme and guidance

Lexi Rees, Head of Employers Policy – The Work and Health Unit, Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) (invited)


Special Keynote: Establishing an Award-Winning Employee Mental Wellbeing Approach Across a Central Government Department

  • Establishing an internal health and wellbeing programme to establish a ‘whole-person’ approach to wellbeing through a “Working Well Together” strategy, including a range of innovative tools such as a mental wellbeing toolkit
  • Exploring efforts to reduce the taboo attached to mental health through wellbeing focused broadcasts and tailored inclusion campaigns, as well as addressing the obstacles faced in implementing these across a department of 85,000 employees
  • Integrating mental wellbeing training programmes for customer-facing employees through the ‘wellbeing capability programme’ and increasing a network of over 800 voluntary wellbeing advocates and 200 trained mental health firstaiders
  • Utilising digital solutions including a social intranet platform which includes a mental health first aid community, empowering the workforce to engage in conversation on wellbeing and mental health
  • Reflecting on the success of the programme which resulted in a further drive to innovate employee health and wellbeing measures across the department

Winner of Employee Wellbeing Award 2018 for Mental Health

Diane Rudge, Head of Wellbeing, Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) (invited)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Leading by Example - How Local Authorities Can Support Workplace Health and Wellbeing to its Working Population

  • Outlining the challenges faced in ensuring that Self-Care in the workplace is promoted by a whole community rather than purely through the NHS and council
  • Highlighting how Cheshire Council and the NHS successfully collaborated with community development teams, police officers and members of local charities to set up a Self-Care Award which attracted employers to get involved
  • Successfully integrating self-care ‘champions’; a network of experts who emphasise the importance of the issue as part of their everyday work
  • Exploring the lessons learnt from delivering workshops on self-care and encouraging a relatable message of self-care such as visual prompt depicting that it does not cost much to take care of minor ailments

Councillor Janet Clowes, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Integration, Cheshire East Council (invited)


Case Study: Establishing a Regional Partnership Approach to Improving Employee Health and Wellbeing

  • Introducing the Working Win trial which is testing innovative forms of holistic support for individuals experiencing physical and/or mental health issues based on modified principles of Individual Placement and Support (IPS), especially for staff in the process of recruitment and retention
  • Examining how the trial used international evidence and garnered via a successful partnership among the Mayoral Combined Authority, local authorities and health partners, University of Sheffield, Department of Health and Department for Work and Pensions to reach the key government commitment to halve the disability employment gap
  • Highlighting the challenges of establishing a large-scale trial scheme, such as ensuring the support reaches the right people, and the methods implemented to help overcome these challenges
  • Analysing the result of the trial so far including more than 2,000 ‘Working Win’ participants and the next steps to further supporting local businesses to improve employee wellbeing across the region

Krysia Wooffinden, Assistant Director for Skills, Employment and Education, Sheffield City Region Combined Authority (CONFIRMED)

Adam Whitworth, Researcher in the Design of Effective Employment Support Interventions, University of Sheffield (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Chair’s Summary and Close

*programme subject to change

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