THI 08 Health and Wellbeing at Moray Council by fgYY1y



                               2010 APPLICATION FORM
Please refer to the ‘2010 Guidance for Applicants’ before completing this application

The deadline for submission of entries is 5pm on 2 October 2009. Submission
arrangements are detailed at the end of this application form.

The application form is split over five sections to reflect the assessment criteria, and to
facilitate the leeting process. It is up to you to decide the content and length of each
section, but your application must not exceed three pages in total (excluding the
cover pages).

      CATEGORY TITLE Tackling Health Inequalities and Improving Health
           Project Name Health and Wellbeing at Moray Council
       Lead Organisation The Moray Council
      Department/ Team Personnel Services
                              1.                                                2.
                              3.                                                4.
    Participant or Partner
                              5.                                                6.
                              7.                                                8.
                              9.                                                10.

      Award coordinator       Denise Whitworth, Head of Personnel Services
        Contact details Tel: 01343 563261

Can we publish an anonymised version of this application form on our website?         YES / NO
   EXECUTIVE        In one short paragraph please describe this project and what it has achieved.
   SUMMARY          We will use this in any future publicity material.
An innovative pro-active approach to employees’ health and wellbeing that has changed our
culture and stopped the ticking time bomb of ill-health among the workforce.

From year-on-year rising sickness absence rates in 2005/06 (SJC 4.7%, Teachers 4.3%, Craft 5.2%)
to an overall reduction by 2006/07 (SJC 4.5%, Teachers 4.1%, Craft 5%) with sustained
performance to date in a general climate of increasing absence.

Active management of absence cases and a zero cost health promoting culture has won
support and delivered efficiencies.
                    · a clear rationale, defined processes and focus on stakeholder needs
PLANNING            · contributes to organisation’s goals, community plan and SOA, and national policy context
By 2006 sickness absence had developed an upward trend result in a loss of around 44,000 days
per year and was costing in excess of £3.6m. As one of the top performing councils with a well-
embedded Absence Policy, which reflected good practice and current thinking, a more
innovative solution was required.

The initial aim was to achieve 0.2% reduction in teacher absence as this was the main area with
direct costs from replacement staff and 0.2% would save £70,000 per annum, contributing to
the overall efficiency agenda of the council. A spend to save initiative was agreed for the
management of absence, which included a policy review to focus much more on a positive
culture of promoting health, although this element was unfounded.

The overall purpose was to improve employees’ health at work in order to reduce absence
levels and generate both financial and service efficiencies and later, as these emerged, to
support the areas highlighted in the Single Outcome Agreement. As the largest employer in
Moray we recognise that we have a responsibility to improve the health and wellbeing of our
employees not only because they are our workforce but also because they constitute a large
proportion of the Moray community.

The plan was to achieve this through the introduction of a pro-active management of
attendance with particular emphasis on early intervention and a more active involvement of
occupational health and wider support services whilst using the Healthy Working Lives initiative
to engage with employees in a way that encourages and educates on health improvement.

Following earlier surveys, all employees were given the opportunity to complete a Health Needs
assessment in 2008; the results of this were used to plan the Healthy Working Lives campaigns in
2009. The plan is also reviewed based on feedback from employees following the Health Fairs
and this too is fed into the forthcoming plan meaning staff have access to tools to improve their
own wellbeing.
                    · implemented in all relevant areas and across all the required stakeholders
DELIVERING          · carried out in a structured and logical way , using robust and sustainable methods
The main causes of absence within the council are stress/ anxiety / depression. The SOA
highlights priority areas of health improvement, the undue impact of alcohol on health and
mental health issues. It is recognised that promotion of general good health and wellness can
benefit all of these and so the HWL action plan focuses on raising awareness among employees
and making them aware of choices which may benefit their health.

HWL registration and activities were extended to cover the whole council. A cross-council
group of employees from different levels was formed to co-ordinate the work supported by
Personnel Services. Employees, trade unions, health and safety representatives and managers
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all contribute to the plans. The HWL Group has developed an overarching strategy and
produces an annual action plan, which sets out the topics and issues to be addressed.
Examples include:
 ‘Grow Your Own’ Challenge, teams entered to grow edible produce on their office
     windowsill, culminating in a virtual “village fair”. This encouraged healthy eating and “team
     spirit” (run in 2008 and 2009)

   “Workstep Challenge” physical activity challenge where teams walked round the world
    (2008) and did a grand tour of Europe (2009). The distances were converted into steps and
    steps walked counted on pedometers submitted weekly with a race to the finish.

   Yearly Health Fairs – dance classes, Tai Chi, massage, health checks, mental health
    promotion, fitness challenges, back care, healthy food etc, The Health Fairs also go “on
    tour” to remote areas. A number of employees were made aware of health issues requiring
    medical attention.

   Weight Management / Healthy Living classes – 10 weekly sessions, with different topics
    presented (e.g. fats in your diet, salt and sugar intake, physical activity, portion sizes) and
    resources to support each session (e.g. fat blobs, taste tests, expert presentation etc)

   Jog Scotland Group established

   Wear Slippers to Work day (Samaritans initiative) - to de-stress in the work place

The group works hard to ensure employees across the council can participate using the
intranet, newsletter, and has established a network of contacts in departments to promote
activities using notice boards.

Health as a corporate priority is a key theme in the corporate Social Awareness Programme
organised by Employee Development. This uses a local drama group to produce dramas to
illustrate the key messages.

This positive culture of focusing on health and supporting employees to stay at work is under-
pinned by strong management through our Health and Work Policy. Managers were given a
toolkit to assist with early intervention for absence and enable them to support employees back
to work as soon as possible. Training was given to all departments on implementing the policy.

The Employee Assistance Programme was re-focussed to support the health agenda. Health
Assessments and Life Management Services were added to counselling services at no cost.

IMPROVING +          · evidence of leading practice and innovation being achieved
                     · appropriate measurement and learning, and how this has led to continuous improvement
After one year in operation the approach seemed to be working. Absence statistics were
already beginning to show some positive effects, sitting at around 4%. Departmental
performance figures were also showing a steady improvement. This was attributed to the
overall approach including health promotion and case management plans for absence cases
ensuring proactive management and timely interventions.
Example Quarterly Departmental Information (Jan – Jan 2007/*8)

Community Services     7.3      5.7      5.2     4.2      6.5

Educational Services 5.8        2.9      3.2     3.6      5.0

There had been a change in the nature of absence with a lower percentage attributable to
long-term absence than previously (from 2/3 to 1/3 long-term absence).

The improvement of approximately 0.6% in 2006/7 and 0.8% in 2007/8 in the teaching statistic
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would give total savings in the order of £400,000 over the two-year period based on costs of
replacement staff.

The improvement in the SJC employees’ absence estimated at around 0.9% was difficult to
accurately attribute financial gains to. However, around 30% would require replacement (i.e.
Homecarers, Education Auxiliaries, Catering staff). Based on annual absence costs of around
£2.0m, this would amount to reduced costs of an estimated £120,000 for 2006/7.

In light of the review it was decided to:

   aim to reduce sickness absence to below 4% for all groups in 2008/9 and to sustain it at this
    level thereafter.

   provide follow-up training and support for managers to help to achieve this

   continue emphasis on the new approach to managing health and work

   HWL actions would be targeted to address and support the main causes of absence

For example, evidence has shown that physical activity has a beneficial impact on mental
wellbeing, therefore, a Moray Council Sports Championships is being held in October 2009 with
teams competing against each other scoring points from the calories burned doing sports,
activities carried out in their leisure time or just every day activities such as housework or
                     · a convincing mix of customer perception and internal performance measures
RESULTS +            · clear line of sight to the delivery of the Single Outcome Agreement
IMPACT               · a full range of relevant results showing improvement over time

The council’s absence figures continue to improve, 4.55 % in 07/08 dropping to 4.36% in 08/09,
at a time when figures are generally reported to be higher (note: these are higher than
originally planned due to a change in calculation method). There has been a change in
approach from managers to being more supportive of employees’ health and involving more
active management of ill health which impacts on the Council’s performance in relation to
absence levels - effective management of employee absence increases the time available to
deliver services, thus securing improved efficiency and improved service quality.

The move towards a positive culture of promoting health and wellbeing has been endorsed by
the achievement of the Silver Award for Healthy Working Lives and the council is awaiting the
result of a recent on Gold Award submission.

From an experimental and sceptical start this positive approach to wellbeing has had a
demonstrable impact on absence levels, generating financial savings and service efficiencies.
Less tangible are the effects on the general health and wellbeing of employees but the
anticipation and buzz that now welcomes each of our new Healthy Work Lives activities and
challenges certainly drowns out the ticking of the time bomb that was rising absence, which we
can no longer hear!

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                                  THE COSLA CHAIR’S AWARD
This category is awarded at the discretion of the Chair and is open to submissions under any of the
seven categories. It is awarded to those submissions of exceptional standards or merit demonstrating
achievements above the limits stipulated in the assessment/judging criteria for the relevant category.
Alternatively, submissions can be considered which can demonstrate being conducted in exceptional
Do you wish your submission to be considered for the Chair’s Award?                             YES/NO
In about 300 words, please highlight the reasons why this submission should be considered for the Chair’s Award:
When the Council set out on this approach it was seen as experimental – the benefits had
not been proven in local government, health promotion was not really tangible and there
had to be great care over public (and staff) perception of good use of council resources.
There was a fair degree of scepticism from managers, trade unions and employees that the
positive health culture was nothing more than a cover for harsher management of absence.
However, the continued innovative and enthusiastic approach to health and well-being is
now established and accepted. Managers think in different ways about managing health
related cases and the trade unions are more trusting of the process. Not only has there been
a shift in culture, we have seen real results in terms of changes to our absence patterns.

The approach developed has been shared with colleagues locally and nationally in an effort
to share good practice. Our challenges will be available to the public on the council’s
website for them to use in Health Promotion activities.

    Next steps
         Have you answered the assessment criteria set out in the guidance?
         Is your application form 3 pages or less? (anything more, including
          appendices, will be automatically rejected)
         Has your application form been authorised by an appropriate person?
         Have you indicated whether you wish the application form to be

    Submitting your application
    Please email your application by 2 October to:
    Category 1 submissions                  
    Category 2 submissions                  
    Category 3 submissions                  
    Category 4 submissions                  
    Category 5 submissions                  
    Category 6 submissions                  
    Category 7 submissions                  

                 Queries surrounding the submission of applications can be made to:
                    Adam Stewart ( / 0131 474 9275)

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