Workplace Stress Audit 2007 by avn10155

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									SUFFOLK POLICE AUTHORITY
                                                              HR08/21
REPORT TO:                     HUMAN RESOURCES & STAFF LIAISON COMMITTEE

DATE:                          6 JUNE 2008

TITLE:                         WORKPLACE STRESS AUDIT 2007

AUTHORSHIP:                    CHIEF CONSTABLE

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:


1.   This report sets out the detailed findings of the Workplace Stress Audit, which was
     carried out across the Constabulary in August/September 2007. It draws
     comparisons between different groups and identifies actions that are taken to
     reduce, as far as is practicable, the identified stressors within the organisation.

2.   The service and financial implications associated with this report are detailed at
     section 3.

3.   The risks associated with this report are detailed at section 4.



RECOMMENDATIONS:


Recommendation 1
That the Committee notes the analysis of results of the Workplace Stress Audit 2007.

Recommendation 2
That the Committee agrees that further work should be undertaken through the Health &
Safety Committee, with the support of expertise from the Occupational Health
department, to explore any further action that could be taken to reduce the incidence of
work related stress, particularly in relation to the top five scoring categories. Progress to
be reported back to the Committee through the quarterly Human Resources report.

Recommendation 3
That the Committee agrees to the commissioning of a repeat of the Stress Survey in
August/September 2009


Originator:            Jacqui Cheer, Deputy Chief Constable
Telephone No:          01473 782702
E-mail:                Jacqueline. Cheer@suffolk.pnn.police.uk



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BACKGROUND PAPERS:


     None



ADDITIONAL PAPERS:


1.   Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 HMSO 1974

2.   Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 HMSO 1999

3.   Health & Safety Policy. Suffolk Constabulary 2005

4.   HSG 218 “Managing the causes of work-related stress – A step by step approach
     to using the Management Standards” Health & Safety Executive 2007

5.   Suffolk Police Authority (Human Resources & Staff Liaison Committee) – 18
     January 2008 Paper HR08/3




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1     INTRODUCTION

1.1   A report was presented to the Human Resources and Staff Liaison Committee at
      its meeting on 18 January 2008, (paper HR08/3) setting out the main findings of
      the Workplace Stress Audit, which was carried out across the Constabulary in
      August/September 2007 in line with Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
      Guidelines. Comparisons were made with elements of a previous Audit
      conducted in 2003.

1.2   Following the January meeting three members of the Human Resources and
      Staff Liaison Committee joined a working group from the Constabulary’s Health
      and Safety Committee to discuss the results of the survey in more detail.

1.3   The 2007 Stress Audit, like that of 2003, was conducted on the Constabulary’s
      behalf, by Clarion International Ltd, a consultancy specialising in this area of
      work.

1.4   This report details the comparisons that can be made through a more detailed
      analysis of the survey results and highlights some of the measures taken within
      the Constabulary to reduce significant stressors.

1.5   For ease of reference, some of the information presented in HR08/3 is repeated
      within this report.

      Why organisations need to tackle stress?

1.6   According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) stress is “ the adverse
      reaction that people have to excessive pressure or other types of demand placed
      upon them.” The cumulative effect of sustained stress can have serious
      consequences both for the individual, in terms of physical, psychological and
      social problems and for the organisation, in terms of lost working hours, lack of
      performance, lowered morale and increased employee turnover.

1.7   The HSE has indicated that:

             Stress is likely to become the most dangerous risk to business in the
             early part of the 21st century.
             One in five workers report feeling extremely stressed at work. This
             equates to 5 million in the UK, of which over half a million report
             experiencing work-related stress at a level they believe has actually made
             them ill.
             Self-reported work-related stress, depression or anxiety account for an
             estimated 13.8 million reported lost working days per year in Britain.

1.8   In addition, national survey data shows that:

             Around 13.6% of all working individuals thought their job was very or
             extremely stressful.
             The incidence rate of self-reported work-related stress, depression or
             anxiety in 2006/07 has increased compared to 2004/05 and 2005/06.




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              High incidence of work-related mental illness are shown in, amongst
              others, those in public sector security based occupations such as police
              officers, prison officers, and UK armed forces personnel.
              Work-related stress accounts for over a third of all new incidences of ill
              health.
              Each case of work-related stress, depression or anxiety related ill health
              leads to an average of 30.2 working days lost.

       Audit Methodology

1.9    The Workplace Stress Audit used a questionnaire, completed manually and
       anonymously, to establish the likely causes of stress and its probable levels,
       within the Constabulary (excluding Special Constables).

1.10   It is important to note that although the audit is based on scientific research, it is
       not a scientific tool, where results are exact. The report is accurate, based on
       the results that were received on the completed questionnaires.

1.11   The Workplace Stress Audit is a valid tool, which can identify stress within
       departments, sections, job types, gender and age groups (as well as ethnicity,
       disability and grading bands), and establish likely stress levels and indications of
       impending health problems.

1.12   The questionnaire had 25 questions that cover the main factors listed by the
       Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in its Management Standards, which, if not
       correctly managed, can lead to work-related stress:

               Demands [work load (quantity, pace and content), work scheduling
              (shifts, breaks, uncertain hours), physical environment (violence, noise,
              thermal comfort, etc)].
              Control [lack of control over work, low autonomy, lack of decision-
              making].
              Support [skill shortfall, lack of support from organisation / management /
              colleagues].
              Role [role conflict, role ambiguity, low perceived status, inappropriate
              levels of responsibility].
              Relationship [interpersonal conflict and harassment].
              Change [poor or absent strategies for involving staff and for minimising
              adverse effects of implementation].

1.13   The questions were weighted equally and the response options range from 1 – 6.
       The responses were scored in the following way: Option 1 equals 0%, Option 2
       equals 20%, and so on, rising in 20% increments to Option 6, which equals
       100%. The report shows the average score for each question (stressor),
       allowing a measurement of the levels of stress in any department or group of
       individuals.




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       Understanding the Results

1.14   The Group Stress % score is the average score of all respondents in the
       organisation. Therefore, the score of 36% is the average score recorded by all
       respondents. It does not mean that 36% of individuals in the organisation
       are stressed.

1.15   The stressors, as indicated by the responses in relation to each question, are
       shown in Appendix 1 broken down by key groups, i.e. age band, grade band,
       gender, disability and ethnic origin. Again, the scores are the average from the
       respondents and do not mean that is the number of individuals stressed by that
       stressor.

1.16   The results can be banded in three groups, i.e.:

              Average score 0% - 40% - represents an acceptable level of stress –
              the kind of pressure that motivates good performance and stimulates
              activity. There is a low risk of resulting absence, illness or breakdown
              caused by these stressors.
              Average score 41% to 60% - represents a medium or moderate level
              of stress. They are slightly above the acceptable level but not in the
              unreasonable limits. These stressors may need to be monitored to
              ensure that they do not escalate and become unacceptable. There is a
              moderate risk of absence, illness or breakdown caused by these
              stressors.
              Average score 60% to 100% - represents an unacceptable level of
              stress and should be dealt with immediately. These represent a high risk
              of absence, illness or breakdown.

       The results


                                               2007       2003

              NUMBER OF RESPONSES              1560       (1494)


              RESPONSE RATE                    64%        (60.4%)


              GROUP STRESS SCORE               36%        (26.5%)



1.17   There were 1560 respondents to the 2007 Audit, a very good response rate
       compared to other organisations and slightly up on 2003. Nevertheless, in
       interpreting the results, it should be remembered that some 877 officers and staff
       did not complete the questionnaire.
1.18   Of the 25 stressors covered by the questionnaire, there was an increase in the
       average % in 21, a reduction in 2, with 2 remaining the same. Of those that
       increased, 4 increased by 20% or more. ie;



                                           5
                 Do you feel that your job is not secure? (+23%)
                 Do you ever have to do work that is mundane or boring? (+23%)
                 Do you have any concerns about the effectiveness of employee review
                 and development process? (+20%)
                 Do you feel that there is insufficient consultation about changes and
                 decisions that affect you? (+20%)

         The top five stressors identified in the 2007 audit were:
                                                                             Av. Stress
                                                                               Score
       Stressor Description
                                                                         (nb not the % of staff
                                                                         feeling stressed)

       Do you feel that there is insufficient consultation about                  58%
       decisions and changes that affect you?
       Do you feel that you do not have enough time to do a good                  55%
       job?
       Do you feel you have concerns about the effectiveness of                   54%
       employee review and development process?
       Do you feel that you are not given enough positive feedback or             52%
       acknowledgement of your work?
       Do you feel that you are given unreasonable workloads or                   51%
       deadlines?

1.19     It seems probable that the first two of the above were heavily influenced by the
         announcements relating to the likely outcome of the Strategic Review and the
         large organisational savings requirement, over the next 3-4 years.
1.20     Each of these top five stressors fell within the ‘moderate’, or amber, banding and
         they are consistent with the results for other organisations assessed by the same
         firm of consultants.
1.21     The top overall organisation stressors are also quite typical throughout each
         department and group assessed.

1.22     It is pleasing to note that issues relating to discrimination and bullying are
         consistently scored low, which shows that there is no culture of these issues
         within the organisation.

1.23     Whilst the shift in a number of the stressors, compared to the 2003 survey, is
         significant, it must be remembered that the overall stress score for the
         organisation still falls within the Low Risk Level Banding (0% -40%) rather than
         the Medium Risk Level (41% - 60%) or High Risk Level (61%).

1.24     A contributory factor to the Constabulary remaining within the low banding is the
         range of positive interventions and support mechanisms that are already in place
         and which are consistent with those measures advocated by the Health & Safety
         Executive (HSE) and the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development.




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1.25   The Constabulary has:

              An active sickness management service, including welfare visits and
              return to work interviews.

              A comprehensive Occupational Health Service, including counselling
              services.

              A well established Performance Development Review (PDR) process to
              support the setting on individual objectives consistent with the overall
              organisation objectives and supported by individual development plans
              and managerial feedback on performance.

              In addition to a comprehensive Stress Policy/Procedure, a range of HR
              policies and procedures including:

                  -   Flexible Working
                  -   Family Leave
                  -   Special Leave
                  -   Working Time
                  -   Fairness at Work (i.e. Grievance)
                  -   Career Break
                  -   Equal Opportunities & Diversity

              Staff/Officer Support groups, including:

                  -   Black Police Association (BPA)
                  -   Gay Police Association (GPA)
                  -   Suffolk Association of Women in Policing (SAWP)
                  -   Suffolk Reachout (Disability Support Group)
                  -   Unison, Police Federation and Superintendents’ Association

              Partnership arrangement with Remploy, to provide practical support to
              officers/staff with disabilities.

              Communication and Consultation machinery, including:

                  -   Joint Negotiation and Consultation Committee (JNCC) which now
                      meets every two months rather than quarterly
                  -   Attendance at Force Management Board by Unison, Police
                      Federation and Superintendents’ Association.
                  -   People Management Board (commencing May 2008),
                  -   Chief Constable briefings for managers and supervisors
                  -   Intranet bulletins from Chief Officers and Directors
                  -   Collective staff meetings to discuss and seek views on proposed
                      organisational changes, e.g. Strategic Review

1.26   Of course, this does not mean that measures cannot be further developed and
       attention should be focussed particularly on the top five stressors identified in the
       survey.




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       Analysis of Results by Staff Groups

1.27   Detailed analysis of the survey results in the form of breakdowns between staff
       groups by age band, grade band, gender, ethnicity, disability are given in
       Appendix 1. Key points in relation to high level stressors, i.e. above 60% are:

                  Chief Inspectors and above – high stressor (61%) was excessive
                  overtime and having to take work home.
                  Sergeants and Inspectors, high stressors were in relation to PDR
                  (65%), not having enough time to do a good job (64%) and
                  unreasonable workload/deadlines 63%.
                  Police Constables top stressors were: insufficient consultation about
                  changes and decisions (63%) and not having enough time to do a
                  good job (62%).
                  Police staff managers – top stressor (64%) was not feeling that they
                  had time to do a good job.
                  PCSOs – no stressors reached the high banding but lack of career
                  development opportunities scored highest (57%).
                  Gender – there was no significant difference between the stressors
                  identified by males and females and no stressors came within the high
                  band for either group.
                  Age - None of the stressors identified by age bands covering 10 years
                  identified any high level stressors. Although there were no significant
                  differences between the stressors identified by the different age
                  groups, there was some minor variation between the responses with a
                  greater proportion of the 20 – 29 group saying that the work was
                  mundane or boring.
                  Disability – although the top stressors identified by those with
                  disabilities scored higher than those respondents without disability, i.e
                  PDR process, (72%) lack of career development opportunities (63%),
                  work mundane or boring (63%), the respondent number was small
                  (31) so the result should be viewed with caution.
                  Ethnicity – There were no significant differences in the top stressors
                  identified by Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) officers and staff
                  compared to white officers and staff. Although the top stressor for
                  BME officers and staff relating to insufficient consultation about
                  changes and decisions came within the high band (68%) the
                  respondent size was small (18).

1.28   For both disabled and BME respondents the percentage reporting that they “had
       ever been discriminated against because of ethnic origin, sex, age, disability,
       sexual orientation, or for any other reason was higher than for non disabled and
       white categories, Disabled (32%) BME (23%) White (12%) Not Disabled (12%).
       However, all scores were in the low band. Furthermore, it should be noted that
       the question was not specific to employment within the Constabulary and could
       therefore have been answered by some in relation to employment elsewhere.

       Actions in Relation to top five stressors

1.29   In relation to the top five identified stressors, the following actions have been
       taken:



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1.30   Do you feel that there is insufficient consultation about decisions and changes
       that affect you? - Subsequent to the survey, a comprehensive programme of
       consultation and communication took place directly with staff and their
       representatives, including group and individual meetings, written communication,
       intranet notices and Q & A services. These have been continued throughout the
       process of organisational change. Whilst it is not suggested that such methods
       would ever eliminate the stress caused by the uncertainty over future
       employment, it is evident from the feedback received, that such processes have
       been welcomed by staff and will therefore be continued throughout future
       organisational change.

1.31   Do you feel you have concerns about the effectiveness of employee review and
       development process? And - Do you feel that you are not given enough positive
       feedback or acknowledgement of your work? - Whilst it is essential for an
       organisation to have an appraisal system as it is proven to be a key factor in
       terms of communication, feedback on performance, planning of training and
       development needs, not to mention being a Home Office requirement in relation
       to police forces, it is important to ensure that those involved in the process are
       appropriately trained in conducting appraisals and allow sufficient time.
       Discussions with officers and staff within the Constabulary have revealed that the
       time factor was of greatest significance, especially for Sergeants and Inspectors
       who reported it as the highest stressor (65%) as well as reporting that they did
       not feel they had sufficient time to do a good job (64%). Although appraisals will
       take time, we must ensure that the Constabulary’s PDR process, despite being
       computer based, is not overly bureaucratic. Steps have therefore been taken to
       reduce the amount of evidence required to be collected especially in relation to
       behaviours and this change will be implemented for the 2008/9 PDR year. In
       addition, greater emphasis will be given in the training programmes of
       supervisors and managers, in relation to the PDR process.

1.32   Do you feel that you are given unreasonable workloads or deadlines? And - Do
       you feel that you do not have enough time to do a good job? The reduction in
       staffing levels needs to be accompanied by new and more efficient ways of
       working, with better use of technology and a discerning view of what is important
       for the meeting of organisational objectives. New IT solutions are being
       introduced across, Finance, HR, Procurement and Crime Management. In
       addition, a “Smarter Working Group” is looking at best practice in taking forward
       new and more efficient ways of working.

1.33   In addition and in response to the top stressor for Chief Inspectors and above:
       “Do you feel pressurised to do excessive overtime or take work home” with a
       score in the high risk banding of 61%, discussions have taken place with the
       Superintendents’ Association and the Police Federation, leading to changes in
       working practices to ensure that where senior officers have to work weekends or
       evenings when on call, they are able to take appropriate rest periods afterwards.

       Conclusion

1.34   As previously stated, the overall score for the organisation falls within the low
       banding and it is reassuring to know that there does not appear to be a serious
       problem with stress overall in the Constabulary. Nevertheless, it is important to
       support the measures that are already in place, as well as those being
       developed. Furthermore, the Constabulary is currently part way through a period


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       of major organisational change resulting in reduced staffing levels and tighter
       budgets. Consequently, it must be recognised that such change will inevitably
       increase levels of work related stress as individuals have to adapt to new
       structures, new methods of working and in some cases new roles. The prospect
       of further organisational change driven by further efficiency savings and
       collaborative arrangements with Norfolk will also impact in terms of uncertainty
       over job security.

1.35   It would undoubtedly be too soon to repeat the survey in 2008 and instead it is
       felt more appropriate to repeat the survey after a gap of two years, i.e. autumn
       2009.

2      STATUTORY REQUIREMENTS, ADDITIONAL INFORMATION, TERMS OF
       REFERENCE AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE COMMITTEE

2.1    The Terms of Reference for the Human Resources and Staff Liaison Committee
       provide that the Committee shall be responsible, on behalf of the Police
       Authority, for the oversight and consideration of health and safety issues.

2.2    All organisations owe a duty of care to their employees and are expected to carry
       out health and safety risk assessments in order to identify and manage areas
       that might threaten the well-being of their workforce. In addition, employers have
       duties:

              Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999,
              to assess the risk of stress-related ill health arising from work activities;
              and
              Under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, to take measures to
              control that risk.

3      SERVICE AND FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS

3.1    It is well recognised that unacceptable levels of stress arising from excessive or
       sustained work pressure poses a risk to most businesses and compensation
       payments for stress related injuries and illness are rising. It is important for the
       Constabulary, like all organisations, to meet the challenge by dealing with
       excessive and long term causes of stress. Failure to do so could lead to costly
       and time consuming litigation, in terms of personal injury and employment
       tribunal claims.

3.2    The HSE, the Confederation of British Industries (CBI) and others have produced
       figures that state that stress-related sickness absence is costing organisations an
       average of between £350 and £500 per annum, per employee. This is sufficient
       reason, in itself, to deal with the issue of work-related stress. There are also
       many other hidden costs associated with staff who are suffering from stress,
       such as: lack of commitment, high staff turnover, costly mistakes, and poor
       customer service.

3.3    As well as reducing sickness absence costs to an organisation, tackling stress
       effectively can, therefore, have a positive effect on:




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             Employee commitment to work;
             Staff performance and productivity;
             Staff turnover or intention to leave;
             Staff recruitment and retention;
             ‘Customer’ satisfaction; and
             Organisational image and reputation.

4     RISK

4.1   Under existing health and safety legislation employers have a duty to undertake
      risk assessments and manage activities to reduce the incidence of stress at
      work. For example, the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, the
      Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (SI 1999/3242) and
      the Working Time Regulations 1998 (SI 1998/1833) have a potential impact on
      this area.

4.2   Failure to comply with these regulations can lead to significant criminal and/or
      financial penalties, such as unlimited fines and custodial sentences, Prohibition
      and Improvement Notices. Any such failures could also be used as evidence in
      any related civil claims. All of these could have significant consequences on the
      organisation as a whole, as well as on the key individuals concerned.

4.3   Across all work sectors, there has been a significant rise in the incidence of
      employee-led litigation. An increasing number of employees have taken their
      employers to court for stress-related illnesses caused, or made worse by, their
      work and have received large amounts of compensation from the courts.

4.4   There are three main types of legal duties that employees could use as a basis
      for a stress claim:

             Negligence;
             express or implied terms in the contract of employment that may be
             relevant to stress claims (for example the implied duties regarding health
             and safety and mutual trust and confidence);
             statute.

4.5   Changes to the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) in December 2005
      mean that mental illness no longer has to be a clinically well-recognised condition
      to be covered. Consequently, ‘anxiety’, ’depression’ and other stress related
      illnesses, may be sufficient to qualify a person as disabled and therefore covered
      by the DDA, as long as there is a substantial and long-term effect (for at least a
      year) on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day duties.

4.6   Undertaking a proper risk assessment for stress should help an organisation
      avoid prosecution and litigation. A Workplace Stress Audit is regarded as
      fulfilling the greater part of the Risk Assessment requirements, now demanded
      by the HSE.

4.7   Although the results of the Workplace Stress Audit are important, because the
      overall organisation score was in the low banding, it is not felt that there needs to
      be an entry in the Police Authority’s risk register at the current time. However, on
      a broader front, the Authority may wish to keep under review the need to include



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    an appropriate entry in relation to Health & Safety, particularly if there is a
    growing incidence of litigation against employers.

5   RECOMMENDATIONS

    Recommendation 1
    That the Committee notes the analysis of the Workplace Stress Audit 2007

    Recommendation 2
    That the Committee agrees that further work should be undertaken through the
    Health & Safety Committee, with the support of expertise from the Occupational
    Health department, to explore any further action that could be taken to reduce
    the incidence of work related stress, particularly in relation to the top five
    identified stressors. Progress to be reported back to the Committee through the
    quarterly Human Resources report

    Recommendation 3
    That the Committee agrees to the commissioning of a repeat of the Stress
    Survey in August/September 2009.




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