Agenda item

Employee Wellbeing Services - key decision

Report of Corporate Director of Finance and Resources


Jacqueline Armand, Employee Wellbeing Manager, presented the report and stated the following:


·  the Council is required to have in place a comprehensive range of occupational health services in order to be able to meet its common law and statutory duties of care for the health, safety and welfare of employees in their working environment, and to provide advice and medical assessments in relation to sickness management. This included, but is not limited to, the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and Health and Safety regulations;


·  the benefit to service users was that by having effective wellbeing contracts in place, the Council can reduce sickness absence and improve service delivery by looking after their employee’s health and wellbeing. This service should also mitigate the risks, as far as is possible, of staff making a successful claim against the Council for breach of the legal obligations referred to in the report;


·  the Council currently had an Employee wellbeing service, which encompassed an internal Occupational Health Services and employing Occupational Health Advisors and wellbeing practitioners. Additional support to the service was currently provided through procured contracts for Occupational Health Physicians, Physiotherapy services and a comprehensive Employee Assistance Programme, which provided confidential counselling services for employees 24/7, 365 days per year;


·  it was proposed that a procurement exercise be undertaken requesting tenders for each support service as outlined above. The services would support wellbeing of colleagues and help them remain in, or achieve a successful return to, work, which supports economic wellbeing;


·  the services would also enable the council to meet the contractual obligations that it had to third parties, where it provided a full range of Occupational Health services;


·  by having three distinct contracts, it was envisaged that this would attract smaller local suppliers to tender, driving local spend and jobs and achieving best value.




(1)  to approve:


(a)  the planned commercial strategy to secure Employee Wellbeing services, to commence from September 2023, as detailed in the report:


(b)  a tender process for the services outlined for a term of 3 years, plus an optional 1+1 years (3+1+1, a maximum of 5 years), in accordance with the Council’s constitution and legal requirements, including compliance with the Public Contract Regulations 2015, at a maximum total cost of £1,050,000;


(2)  to delegate authority to the Director of HR and EDI to approve the outcome of the tender process and award contracts to the successful bidders.


Reasons for recommendations


1.  The Council has three core Employee Wellbeing Contracts that provide a range of Occupational Health Services to all NCC Employees as well as academies, schools and two district councils (via a formal legal contract –see below for further details). These services support the Council by focusing on prevention, intervention and rehabilitation to enable colleague to remain fit for work.


2.  It is recognised that a range of wellbeing initiatives can add value to attendance management; help improve performance and provide valuable support to managers and employees.  Nottingham City Council is looking for a provider/s that can promote wellbeing and effect a reduction in sickness around the following:


·  Prevention – assisting the Council with fit for work type activities;

·  Early Intervention – bringing about an improvement in absence figures;

·  Rehabilitation – enabling a safe and prompt return to work.


3.  To enable Employee Wellbeing to deliver key health and wellbeing support to our employees the following services are recommended:


·  Employee Assistance Programme – provides confidential support to colleagues 24/7 365 days a year. Providing advice and support on mental health issues, bereavement, financial and debt advice. As well as signposting to services and providing some therapy such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Counselling;


·  Physiotherapy provision – early intervention for musculoskeletal conditions being suffered by employees. It includes assessment and treatment to keep employees at work or get them back as soon as possible;


·  Occupational Health Physician – Access to Occupational Health Physicians is critical to the service as they undertake complex case appointments, high level health surveillance assessments related to health and safety and ill health retirement options.


Other options considered


1.  Consideration was given to the local impact of going out to tender for one supplier to provide all 3 services. However, by having three distinct contracts it is envisaged that this will attract smaller local suppliers to tender driving local spend and jobs.


2.  An option of employing staff directly to deliver all aspects of the services outlined within the report was considered. Taking into account the current external provision NCC has in place and the evaluations undertaken of the service delivery, the ability to use external provider’s knowledge and expertise the opinion was that the most effective and beneficial option was to continue to procure the services.

Supporting documents: