Richmond Council has been awarded the highest accreditation level for being a healthy workplace by the Greater London Authority.

Last June, Richmond Council was awarded the second tier award in a three stage accreditation called the Heathy Workforce Charter. A scheme that considers an organisations approach to staff health and safety, attendance management, healthy eating, physical activity and mental health.

Since then, further work has been carried out to reflect the Council’s commitment to putting people first. As part of the submission, judges considered the impact of the programme on staff health and wellbeing since the programme began three years ago and stated that Richmond Council demonstrated good evidence that employee health and wellbeing is well embedded in the workplace culture. The programme addresses health and safety and HR policies and the Employee Assistance Programme; internal facilities for bikes, active staff champions, healthy internal catering options, break out areas for staff, and corporate gym memberships.

As a result, the Council has this week been awarded the top accreditation and is considered an ‘Excellent’ employer when supporting staff health.

Now the accreditation has been achieved, it is hoped that next year the new Shared Staffing Arrangement, with Wandsworth Council, will also be awarded a similar accolade.

Benefits of signing up to the Charter include greater productivity levels, lower staff turnover and less absenteeism.

Joint Chief Executive of Richmond and Wandsworth Council, Paul Martin, said:

“Improving the way we think about health, as employers and as staff, has obvious personal benefits, but it also can also have a positive impact on organisations, including the financial bottom line. If people are fitter and healthier they are less likely to take time off and evidence shows it can reduce staff turnover as well.

“Over the past twelve months the Public Health Team and HR have worked hard to put together a full programme of activity to encourage staff to take their physical and mental wellbeing seriously. Now the Shared Staffing Arrangement is launched, plans are already underway to bring the whole organisation up to this standard.”

Cllr Lisa Blakemore, Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Public Health, added:

“The Council is leading by example by showing how committed it is to the health and wellbeing of staff. The public sector work environment is more challenging now than ever and equipping staff with the emotional and physical support they need will go a long way in keeping them engaged and motivated.”

The GLA launched the Charter in 2012 to encourage organisations in the capital to create healthier workplaces for their staff. Research has shown that promoting health and well-being in the workplace can reduce sickness absence and improve organisational performance. An average London firm of 250 employees loses around £250,000 a year to ill health calculated by sickness absence, whilst workers who are physically active take 27 per cent fewer sick days than less active colleagues.

— from a Richmond Council press release – 12 October 2016