Wellbeing at Work are commissioned by Plymouth City Council to deliver services to businesses in Plymouth or to those businesses with over 50% of their employees having a Plymouth postcode.

Plymouth City Council Achieve Silver Award

February 7th, 2022 | Case Study

Plymouth City Council achieve Silver Award

Plymouth City Council is celebrating the achievement of Silver status within the Wellbeing at Work Awards programme, which is accredited by the Wellbeing at Work Team, part of Livewell Southwest.

Plymouth City Council has been working alongside Wellbeing at Work for several years and has established Wellbeing Champions, completed a health needs assessment, and has a steering group mandated by the Corporate Management Team to drive improvements in health, safety and wellbeing.  The organisation achieved Bronze status in June 2020 in recognition for its work to improve the health, safety and wellbeing if its staff.

In order to achieve the Wellbeing at Work Silver Award, businesses are asked to choose three of seven toolkits, in accordance to staff needs and priorities that they identified at the Bronze award stage.  Plymouth City Council chose to look at the following:

  • Mental health
  • Physical activity, healthy eating & healthier weight
  • Musculoskeletal health

Each toolkit has an assessment criteria to complete for each topic and provides a range of advice, information and resource links. Throughout the process they are supported by a Wellbeing at Work Advisor.

CEO of The Council, Tracey Lee said:

“We are delighted to receive the Silver Wellbeing at Work Award, demonstrating our commitment to the wellbeing of all our employees. Wellbeing and resilience has been significantly challenged over the last 20 months due to the additional work demands created by the pandemic, and the tragic incidents impacting Keyham and Leigham. We continue to keep wellbeing high on our priorities, as we know that our employees will always go the extra mile to serve the citizens of Plymouth; to continue to do this, they need their work environment to support them as far as possible”

Jennifer Jenkins, Specialist Health Improvement Practitioner at Livewell Southwest, said:

“Plymouth City Council offers a wide range of support, advice and guidance to staff across mental health, musculoskeletal health, physical activity, healthy eating and healthier weight.

It has a commitment to sustainable travel and staff are encouraged to find alternative more eco-friendly ways of traveling for work. There is a pool of electric bikes and electric cars that can be used for work travel.  All offices are accessible on main bus routes and people are actively encouraged to car share when then can.

Commitment to promoting the importance of mental health is evident from Senior Management to Wellbeing Champions. During January 2021, in the midst of COVID Senior Management agreed to implement extra support for employees including managers reassessing key priorities, reintroduction of the ability to take two flexi days per month for all employees, avoidance of meetings during the lunch hours and removing core hours to enable employees to amend their day to accommodate home demands.  Alongside this there is a People Strategy, and Wellbeing Charters being developed at local level.”

Philip Heseltine, Head of Transport and programme director for ‘Plymotion’ added ‘it’s great to see that the Council’s continued efforts to support staff well-being is being recognised by this award. As a team we’ve been delighted that our Plymotion travel advisors have been able to play a role in delivering the Council’s transport based well-being programmes, encouraging, enabling and enthusing staff to travel sustainably.  For example, the team were on hand during mental health awareness week in May last year to promote the benefits of physical activity and signpost colleagues to programmes such as adult cycle training, led walks and bike maintenance, which are all designed to overcome barriers to more journeys being made on foot and by bike. As a team we look forward to helping the Council work towards the gold award, as well as helping businesses across Plymouth travel more sustainably.’

In terms of Musculoskeletal health, the organisation identified that this is one of the main key concerns for the Street Services team. Through data collection and a survey, they identified that work demands in that area were high, and that getting the job done is usually seen as more important than health and safety.  Positive changes have happened to move from bags to bins for green / garden waste, and the issue of trans-shipping waste is also being assessed with a view to reduce manual handling and double handling during collections.  The staff intranet wellbeing pages and Wellbeing Champions regularly promote good MSK health and encourage moving away from desks, taking regular breaks, and completing regular DSE assessments for office-based staff and those working from home.”

Plymouth City Council will be officially presented with their award at the Annual Wellbeing at Work Conference in April 2022, and in the meantime, will receive a framed certificate in recognition of their considerable achievement.  The organisation is now taking the next steps in working towards Gold, which will require working through four additional wellbeing topics.