Strategy for a Healthy Police Service
This sets out the strategy developed by the
Home Office in consultation with the police service and agreed
by the Home Secretary, for achieving and maintaining a healthier
police service. This covers health and safety, occupational health,
welfare and attendance management; and applies to all staff, including
support staff. The principles of the strategy should so far as
is appropriate be applied to special constables. It takes into
account In Sickness and in Health: Reducing sickness absence
in the police service, published by the Home Office in 2001.
2. Staff are the police service's most valuable
resource. Their health, safety and wellbeing are critical to forces'
ability to deliver the services which society needs and expects.
Sickness has a major impact on efficiency in terms of absence,
additional overtime costs and stress for staff (and their families)
who are left to cover for absent colleagues. In 2000-01 5% of
total available police officer working days were lost to sickness.
Reducing sickness must be a priority for the police service.
3. The main responsibility for implementing
this strategy rests with Chief Constables.
4. The strategy aims to deliver the following
outcomes on the basis of common standards and procedures:
maintenance of good health in police
a reduction in injuries and ill health
in police staff;
to help people who have become ill,
whether caused by work or not, to return to work and full performance;
to help reduce the number of medical
retirements by assisting to manage cases of ill health more effectively
at the outset1.
5. Police authorities and Chief Constables
must ensure that so far as possible working conditions enable
all police staff to maintain good health, and ensure that the
aims of this strategy are embedded in strategic decision-making.
Chief Constables must meet their legal obligations under health
and safety legislation, and ensure that forces are ready to comply
with the employment provisions of the Disability Discrimination
Act 1995 when the exception for the police service is removed2.
6. Police authorities should hold Chief
Constables to account for delivery against the strategy and put
in place effective procedures for monitoring implementation of
the strategy and monitoring its impact locally.
7. BCU commanders and Heads of Departments
will regularly monitor the attendance of their staff and deal
effectively with poor attendance.
8. Line managers must promote the health
and safety of their staff. This should be reflected in day-to-day
work practices. Line managers are responsible for managing attendance,
with advice from human resource managers, occupational health,
and health & safety specialists.
9. Human resource managers will define the
force structures, policies and processes for managing attendance
and will provide support and advice to line managers.
10. All staff should maintain their own
health, developing awareness of the factors that contribute to
ill-health and participating fully in initiatives to raise health
11. Occupational health specialists and
health & safety advisers should meet the needs of the organization,
and support staff, through providing specialist services of the
highest quality. Staff should have appropriate qualifications.
12. The Home Office will publish targets
for reducing sickness absence, co-ordinate the implementation
of this strategy and issue guidance as necessary. HMIC will review
performance, involve the Police Standards Unit where appropriate,
and will work with police forces and police authorities to support
performance improvement, and identify and disseminate good practice.
13. The targets to be published by the Home
Office for reducing sickness absence will challenge all forces
to perform at the level of the best, and will result in significant
reductions in sickness absence by 2005. Police authorities will
determine targets for each force within a national target to be
developed by the Home Office in consultation with ACPO and the
APA and will take into account the challenge set by the Cabinet
Office in 1999 for all public sector bodies to reduce sickness
absence by 30% by 2003; and the targets in Revitalising Health
and Safety3, published by the Government in June 2000, and
in Securing Health Togethera long-term occupational
health strategy for England, Scotland and Wales4 published
by the HSC in July 2000.
14. The strategy will support the aim of
encouraging effective occupational health policies and sound human
resource management practices within police forces, so that potential
cases of ill-health retirement are managed more effectively from
the outset. This should help to ensure that ill health retirements
in the police are reduced by 2005-06 so that levels of each police
force are consistent with, or better than the performance achieved
by the best quartile of forces in 2000-01.
15. Forces will record and monitor sickness
absence according to criteria and definitions developed by the
Home Office-led Police Numbers Task Force (a Home Office Circular
regarding the new data set was issued in June 2002). Forces will
take the results of the monitoring into account in their human
resource planning, and report figures quarterly to the Home Office;
and police authorities will use the results to inform their scrutiny
of forces' performance against this strategy.
16. The implementation of this strategy
should be an integral part of every force's human resource plan
which should be developed in consultation with the police authority.
17. Every force will assess what is causing
sickness absence and will draw up an action plan to ensure that
so far as possible staff do not become unwell as a result of work,
and that where they do become unwell for any reason they are helped
to full performance of their duties and, if absent from work,
to return to work as quickly as possible. The action plan will
make provision for effective attendance management, the use of
rehabilitation, and the use of recuperative and restricted duties.
Guidance regarding absence management is currently being drafted
within the Police Negotiating Board framework, and will be issued
to forces shortly to inform and accompany their existent plans.
18. The action plan will include a service
delivery plan for the force's occupational health unit which will
occupational health resources are
sufficient to meet, and are focussed on, business need;
line managers, human resource managers,
occupational health specialists and health & safety advisers
co-ordinate their efforts to minimize sickness absence and ill
staff are helped to remain at work,
or to return to work from sickness absence, as quickly and as
flexibly as possible.
19. In devising and implementing the action
plan forces will take into account Guidance on the management
of staff attendance in the police service issued by ACPO in
October 2000, and guidance which will be issued by the Home Office
following consultation with the ACPO Joint Working Group on Organisational
Health, Safety and Welfare.
20. Forces and police authorities will regularly
evaluate the effectiveness of initiatives on the basis of sickness
absence data and other relevant information, and reflect the results
in changes to policies and procedures as necessary. This action
will take into account guidance on evaluation contained in In
Sickness and in Health: Reducing sickness absence in the police
21. The following five matters are not dependent
upon the planning process described in paragraphs 16 to 19, but
should be reflected in the action plan.
(a) Health and safety
Every force will, in consultation with the Health
and Safety Executive and Police Authorities, review its compliance
with health and safety legislation and develop action plans to
ensure compliance with the legal obligations under that legislation.
(b) Support for staff in posts subject to
intense or long-term stress
Every force will assess which posts place staff
under intense or long-term stress and ensure that a psychological
support service is available to staff in these posts:
(c) Assisting earlier return to work
Where it becomes apparent from a GP's diagnosis
that someone is starting a period of long-term sick leave, or
where a health problem is impairing someone's work performance,
management and occupational health working together should determine
as soon as possible the steps which the force will take to help
the person to recover and return to full performance.
In cases where treatment is needed in advance
of the current NHS maximum wait standard5, forces should consider
the use of private healthcare where this is justified by a strict
cost benefit analysis which takes into account the efficiency
gain resulting from the likely earlier return to work. The use
of private health care intervention should be considered on an
individual case by case basis. Where intervention by a private
health care provider is used, the scope to make maximum use of
local NHS facilities should be fully taken into account first.
Every force should agree with its police authority a policy governing
the use of private health care intervention.
All forces will ensure that line managers are
competent in relation to the management of attendance, and other
factors significantly affecting attendance. The requirement will
be reflected in the National Competency Framework and training
delivered as identified.
(e) Health Promotion
Forces should develop measures to promote the
health of their staff. These should cover issues such as healthy
eating, exercise and health checks.
22. The strategy will be implemented according
to the annexed implementation timetable.
|1||Home Office Police Health Implementation Group|
||Forces to implement guidance on sickness absence data
||Agreement on timetable for issuing to forces in relation to preventative occupational health measures, fast track interventions, the use of rehabilitation, recuperative and restricted duties, management of stress, the tax implications of providing fast-track treatment, and any other appropriate matters
||ACPO Joint Working Group on Organisational Health, Safety and Welfare, Home Office and others as identified
||Phase 1 start of guidance provision to forces
||ACPO Joint Working Group on Organisational Health, Safety and Welfare and Home Office
||Launch of Strategy||Home Office Minister
|Forces to commence review of the reasons for sickness absence
|Forces to commence assessment of Occupational Health Provision
||Forces to have agreed with their police authorities their "Healthy Police Service Action Plan"
||Chief Constables||17, 18, 19, 21, 21(a), 21(b)
||Funding to be made available to forces to implement strategy and to evaluate impact of strategy on reduction of absence
|March 2003/April 2003
||Commencement of training for managers on absence management
||Home Office to publish overall target for the reduction of sickness absence for 2003-04 for inclusion in Local Policing Plans for 2003-04
|Phase 2 start of guidance to forces||
|April 2003||Strategy commenced
|Phase 3 start of guidance to forces||
|Chief Officers and Police Authorities to monitor the effectiveness of the first years measures put in place under the strategy
||Chief Constables, Police Authority and Home Office