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North Lanarkshire Council – Housing and social work services - Social workers

Who are they?

North Lanarkshire Council-Housing and social work services logo

Based in the heart of Scotland, North Lanarkshire has a population of around 325,520 and covers one of the largest local council areas in the country.

No of employees:
4,300
Business Sector:
Local Authority

Employee self assessment for stress helps to distinguish between work and non work related stress.

Why North Lanarkshire Council Housing and Social Work Services decided to manage stress using the Management Standards:

How did they do it?

Training for managers on dealing with stress, has been improved and the feedback from this has been positive. New training material for managers was developed by the Services Human Resources Team with the support of the Occupational Health provider and is delivered via half day sessions to small groups of managers to encourage and facilitate discussion. Housing and Social Work Services has a supervision scheme in place for all employees, including Social Workers, which enables these employees to discuss issues with their line manager and, where relevant, formulate and agree actions.

Housing and Social Work Services has carried out a number of workplace surveys in line with the management standards questionnaire. However, within some of these surveys there was a poor response for employees to join a focus group; therefore, a secondary survey was undertaken to gain more detailed information.

In November 2008 Housing and Social Work Services launched its Employee Well-being Strategy which is operated under the banner of EASi (Employee Assistance Support and Information) which covers all aspects of an employee’s health, safety and well-being. A steering group called the Employee Well Being Forum was created, which is chaired by the HR manager. The group is volunteer based and currently has over 60 members consisting of all levels of employees. The group meets four times a year to discuss the key topics that are covered as part of the EASi initiative and create actions.

EASi champions have been identified to discuss issues with employees both before and after the forum to promote engagement and generate an effective agenda. This was found to be particularly effective in residential care and home care settings where not all employees could be present due operational demands.

A report is produced for the Senior Management Team following the forums to ensure a two way process and that well-being is now on the agenda for all health, safety and well-being meetings.

Housing and Social Work Services is being proactive in its approach and has amended the HSE return to work form to be used as a self assessment method, which has been designed to be used before, during or after any potential workplace stress concerns or associated absence. This can be used by both employees and managers when stress issues are raised to form solutions. Line management assessment forms are also used which cover the six Management Standards stressors. These are signed by both the manger and employee which then generates accountability and ownership for what has been agreed and helps to differentiate between work and non work related stress.

Communication

As the majority of Housing and Social Work employees have access to computers, the main method of communication used is emails, which are sent regularly giving updates, advertising support and services and encouraging participation in the EASi employee well-being forum. There are both intranet and internet pages which outline the support and services available to employees e.g. counselling services and other local support networks.

An online EASi chat room is available and feedback is given from employees which has been positive.

A newsletter has been specifically designed for home support workers and other employees who do not have easy or regular access to computers. The newsletter also includes updates on the many other EASi supports such as reduced gym membership and actions from previous employee well-being forums.

Main Challenges

Benefits

What next

Updated 2012-05-24