Health, Work and Well-Being - West Midlands Baseline Report

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1 Warwickshire Observatory Health, Work and Well-Being Report Health, Work and Well-Being - West Midlands Baseline Report September Contact: David Gardiner Telephone:

2 PROFILE OF RESPONDING ORGANISATIONS All 33 Local Authorities (LA) across the region were invited to participate in the West Midlands Local Authority Health Work and Well-being baseline survey. Out of the 33 LA, 27 responded, representing a 82% response rate, although 2 of these responses were only partially complete. Information on 27 out of 33 West Midlands Local Authorities has been collected. Responding authorities employ nearly 120,000 staff (FTE), although numbers of employees range from 150 (FTE) in Malvern Hills District Council, to more than 21,000 (FTE) in Staffordshire County Council. Information from the West Midlands Leaders Board suggests that West Midlands Local Authorities employ over 170,000 staff (FTE). Figure 1: Numbers of employees (FTE) at responding Local Authorities Staffordshire Sandwell Warwickshire Worcestershire Coventry Dudley Stoke Walsall Wolverhampton Herefordshire Solihull Nuneaton & Bedworth Redditch Warwick Newcastle Under Lyme Cannock Chase Rugby Lichfield East Staffordshire Tamworth Wyre Forest North Warwickshire Bromsgrove South Staffordshire Wychavon Stratford-on-Avon Malvern Hills 2

3 The numbers of sick days per year ranged from 6.37 days to days, and averaged 9.57 days per employee. Out of the 27 respondents, only one Authority failed to provide additional information on the number of sick days reported, although one Authority provided a figure that was out of line with the remaining responses, and has been removed from the calculations. Figure 2 shows that there does not appear to be any correlation between the size of the organisation and the number of sick days taken per year; with large and small authorities appearing at both ends of the chart. Figure 2 highlight that the average number of sick days for the West Midlands Authorities is 1.3 days higher than the public sector average (8.3 days), and days higher than the private sector average (5.8 days). Figure 2: Number of sick days, per Authority West Mids LA Average 8 8 Public Sector Average Walsall Wolverhampton Malvern Hills Stratford-on-Avon Sandwell East Staffordshire Nuneaton & Bedworth Wyre Forest North Warwickshire Coventry Dudley Wychavon Tamworth Rugby Bromsgrove Redditch Staffordshire South Staffordshire Cannock Chase Solihull Warwickshire Lichfield Newcastle Under Lyme Worcestershire Warwick 1 Source: CBI report On the Path to Recovery: absence and workplace health survey Private Sector Average

4 28 West Mids LA s sick absence Public Sector average Less than one-half of Local Authorities (13 out of 27) stated that they know the corporate cost of absence, and only three Authorities were able to provide a figure for this cost. The WWT 2 was used to calculate the cost of absence for each of the authorities across the region. Figures for those LA s that did not provide the necessary information to enable accurate calculations to be made have been estimated 3. Figure 3: Total costs of sickness absence, per Authority 4 Birmingham *** 42.4m Rugby 0.6m Sandwell 23.7m Bromsgrove 0.6m Staffordshire 16.0m Worcester *** 0.5m Coventry 12.9m Stratford-on-Avon 0.5m Warwickshire 12.3m Warwick 0.5m Dudley * 12.0m Cannock Chase * 0.5m Worcestershire 10.0m Wyre Forest 0.5m Walsall * 9.8m Newcastle Under Lyme * 0.4m Stoke 8.6m Stafford *** 0.4m Wolverhampton 7.5m North Warwickshire 0.4m Shropshire ** 7.4m Tamworth 0.4m Telford & Wrekin *** 4.8m Lichfield * 0.4m Herefordshire ** 4.4m Staffordshire Moorlands *** 0.3m Solihull 2.1m Wychavon * 0.3m Nuneaton & Bedworth 1.0m South Staffordshire * 0.3m Redditch 0.8m Malvern Hills * 0.2m East Staffordshire 0.6m TOTAL 170.6m Figure 3 estimates that sickness absence costs West Midlands LA s over 170 million per year. 2 The Workplace Well-being Tool (WWT) is a free on-line resource enabling managers to calculate the cost of sickness to their organisation, and produce business cases to asses the potential benefit of wellbeing interventions. 3 Estimated number of employees (FTE) was based upon information supplied by the West Midlands Leaders Board; estimated average salary figures 25,000 and estimated days sickness was based on the West Midlands average of 9.58 days. 4 Estimates based upon *estimated salary; **estimated salary & days absence; ***estimated salary, days sick & number of staff 4

5 Based on average salaries, sick absence costs the West Midlands 170.6m or 6,800 jobs From these figures, if local authorities across the region reduce sick levels to public sector average it would represent potential savings of 2,183,660 (or 87 Jobs). If they could be further reduced to match private sector levels, potential savings of 6,312,200 (or 253 jobs) could be realised Nineteen Local Authorities record and provided information on staff turnover. Turnover ranged from 4.7% to 13.3%, and averaged 9.3%. Average length of service, based Absence statistics reported on 16 responses, ranged from 6 to 12 years, and averaged 9.0 quarterly and descriptor of years, again one response appeared out of line with the rest of trends with each report. the data submitted, and has been removed from these calculations. As might be expected, there appears to be a negative correlation between staff turnover and average length of service, shown in the table below. Figure 4: Negative correlation between staff turnover and average length of service Turnover (%) Average length of service (years) 5

6 HEALTH AND WELL-BEING INITIATIVES All Local Authorities stated that they have access to an Occupational Health Service. In most cases this service was provided externally, but in six of the larger authorities the service is provided in-house. It also appears that many authorities work in partnership to provide the service, either as part of a consortium or through a Service Level Agreement with neighbouring Authorities. Almost all Authorities (24 out of 25) also state that they have access to a care service. Of those Authorities who provide their occupational health service internally, the average number of sick days per employee was 11.0, compared to 9.4 days for authorities with an external occupational health service Local Authorities with outsourced occupational health services experience 15% less sick absence than those who provide services in-house All LA s (25) currently conduct annual staff surveys that ask about staff morale, well-being at work and harassment. Most of these Authorities (22) report that there is a clearly defined set of processes to address issues and trends highlighted in their staff survey. It appears that this done primarily through action plans, and the set-up of focus groups to investigate issues further. The table below indicates the percentage of Authorities who have a range of initiatives and services in place. Three-quarters of Authorities have schemes in place to reduce car use whilst traveling to work. Opportunities include cycle loans, car share schemes, bike rental, assisted bike purchase, bus pass schemes, discounted travel passes and walk to work initiatives. Occupational Health Physician is provided from external source (PCT) but Authority also employs Occupational Health Nurses. Almost all LA s provide opportunities for HSE stress audits, whilst approximately one in four Authorities have a sports and social club or healthy catering policy in place. Wellbeing Audits are carried out on request from managers, HR or suggested by Occupational Health and Counselling Service where hot spots are identified through statistics gathered by the service. On completion of an audit, a report and a plan of action is developed from the information gathered. Support services are also available to help with the implementation of the plan, including focus groups, mediation etc. A follow up audit is suggested after 12 months to monitor 6 the effectiveness of any actions taken

7 Figure 5: Percentage of organisations with initiatives and services in place % of LA s Promoted the flu jab to employees through the winter 54% Schemes to promote traveling to work whilst reducing car use 75% Sports and Social Club in place 25% Have a health and well-being campaign brand 32% Dedicated section on intranet covering health and well-being issues 83% Staff engagement and awareness events 88% Annual health checks 57% HSE stress audits 92% Have workplace health champions or health trainers in place 43% Healthy catering policy 26% Have a health and well-being executive programme or equivalent in place 36% Most Authorities hold staff engagement and awareness events, many of which are based on National campaigns; examples of events are listed below: Health and Safety Week National Stress Awareness Day Stop Smoking Day National Men s Health Week Dealing with difficult situations Dealing with change First Aid training Managing stress at work Healthy workforce week Bicycle User Group Learning at Work Day Staff Health Fair Health walks Approximately two-thirds of Authorities (68%) provide business support to local businesses. Of those that do, over one-half (53%) state that the programme of support includes health, work and well-being workshops. Five organisations reported that they have or intend to develop a health and well-being award for local businesses. 7

8 BARRIERS TO WELLBEING Encouragingly, when asked whether workplace health and well-being practices and initiatives make a positive difference to staff, 96% of respondents agreed. However, despite this positive result, many barriers were recognised in the implementation and long-term success of health and well-being practices and initiatives. The most frequently made comments are listed below: Resources, both financial and time Management buy-in Lack of interest by employees Lack of variety of initiatives Changes to the political direction Communicating initiatives across the organisation Identifying benefits Low staff morale In order for any health & wellbeing initiatives to be successful there must be management buy in and commitment to delivery. 8

9 FINAL THOUGHTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Sick absence costs West Midlands local authorities an estimated 170m and equates to 6,800 Jobs. Absence levels across the region s local authorities are 13% higher than the public sector national average and 49% higher than in the private sector average. The public sector offers more generous occupational sick pay schemes and is far less likely to restrict sick pay (e.g. not pay sick pay for the first 3 days of sickness) than either the manufacturing and production or private services sectors. Public Sector is also less likely to use disciplinary procedures for unacceptable short term absence, although the proportion of public sector employers using these procedures has increased since Over two-thirds of public sector employers provide full occupational sick pay for more than 20 weeks compared with one-third in the manufacturing & production and non-profit sectors and just over one-fifth in private sector services. Nearly half of all private sector employers have an employee wellbeing strategy in place, compared to 36% of West Midlands Local Authorities. CIPD findings imply that investing in wellbeing pays off. Despite the recession 91% of private sector organisations intend to increase or maintain their wellbeing spend in The most effective means of managing both long term and short sick absence is to: Monitor absence proactively Conduct return to work interviews Disciplinary procedures for unacceptable absence Restricting sick pay Provide managers with the information, responsibility and skills to manage absence (see Workplace Wellbeing tool, below) Have trigger mechanisms in place to review attendance In addition, for long term absence, involving occupational health professionals is effective. 5 CIPD annual survey 2010 absence management 6 CIPD Annual survey report 2010 Absence Management 9

10 The workplace wellbeing tool is a free resource that enables you to quantify the cost of absence to your organisation; it is an excellent resource to assist in the production of a business case for improving wellbeing. Local authorities should use this tool to calculate the costs of sick absence to their authority. It can be used at the macro level to analyse the cost of absence across the whole organisational or by team managers on a micro level to level to drill down to manage their teams absence hotspots Despite the recession 91% of private sector organisations intend to increase or maintain their wellbeing spend in Opportunities exist for knowledge share between the public and private sectors enabling them to benefit from best practices from within industry. This would mean local authorities could make efficiencies by improving the wellbeing of its staff and reducing sickness levels; thereby reducing the need for cuts in jobs and services. 10

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