Working with council staff on the national Healthy Communities workforce development programme
The Workforce Development Pilot was commissioned by the Improvement and Development Agency’s Healthy Communities Team. The aim of the pilot was to establish a framework for training and supporting front-line Council staff so that they could improve their own health and that of their clients, family and community. We were asked to provide support to participating sites and to deliver an impact assessment.
The pilot ran from September 2007 to September 2008 and focused on four Local Authorities. Each Council developed their pilot in accordance with local interests, needs and priorities, and each chose a different approach
For example, for Hartlepool Council the focus was on accredited health promotion training in line with Health Trainer competencies, in total 750 staff went through the training. While activity for Barnsley Council included developing a network of Workplace Health Champions and workplace health interventions for manual shift staff and homecare workers.
We provided bespoke support across each site though project planning, establishing measurement frameworks, developing multi-agency steering groups and at the end of the pilot – organising a series of regional learning events.
Targeted approaches using insight from staff audiences helped encourage healthier behaviour such as smoking cessation and healthier eating. More importantly, work was adopted and continued by the Councils, with workplace health becoming core business.
The Improvement and Development Agency have pursued a second wave of the programme, which we are supporting.