Jonathan Jones: why I was delighted to champion the first Health and Wellbeing Civil Service Award

With nominations open for the Civil Service Award 2018, the Treasury solicitor looks back on last year’s submissions on wellbeing

By Jonathan Jones

18 May 2018

In 2017, I was delighted to be asked to be the category champion for the new Health and Wellbeing Civil Service Award. The category was introduced last year to seek to recognise a team or an individual that has made a highly effective contribution to promoting or improving health and wellbeing within the civil service through:

  • a programme of successful interventions led by an organisation’s wellbeing team with a positive and quantifiable outcome;
  • innovative approaches to promoting or measuring positive mental or physical wellbeing in a team or department;
  • an individual or group leading an engaging programme of health or wellbeing activities in a particular work area; and
  • an individual supporting others outside their day job, helping to create a great place to work.

Over 70 nominations were received for this new category from 29 departments across the UK showcasing the amazing work that’s being done in the civil service in this space. The quality of the nominations received for this award was very impressive and it was a challenge to whittle them down to a shortlist of three. The nominations highlighted so much that is positive in the way that departments, teams and colleagues are promoting a healthy and supportive working environment.

The entries included nominations from individuals, staff networks, running clubs and the Civil Service Choir. There were innovative initiatives around nutrition, fitness, deskercise, singing and advice on benefits to cancer sufferers as well as the more common themes around fundraising, wellbeing events and networks for staff.

The overall winner of the Health and Wellbeing award was the HR Directorate of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

CPS introduced a holistic and preventative welfare support package for employees in the Rape and Serious Sexual Offences and Complex Casework units. This was designed to ensure that their employees understood the importance of looking after their mental wellbeing and could recognise early signs of distress and were able to remain resilient. The package has led to employees feeling their wellbeing is better supported, improved absence rates, and supported the delivery of justice.

I contacted the CPS recently to see what has happened since they won last year’s award. Steve White, head of HR operations at the CPS told me: “The CPS HR Directorate was absolutely thrilled to win the inaugural Best Health & Wellbeing Initiative in the 2017 Civil Service Awards.  Almost overnight we were receiving lots of interest from other government departments too.

“Since winning the award in November 2017 rollout of the CPS Welfare Support Programme has continued with pace, we have updated some of the material we use to ensure it continues to feature best practice both within and outside the civil service’.

“We are delighted that the programme received such an accolade, but even more important to us is that all our CPS colleagues, including those who deal with some of our most sensitive and difficult cases, are receiving the support they need to do their job.  Staff wellbeing is so important and a clear part of our CPS 2020 Plan.”

There is clearly great work being done across the civil service and in staff networks.  Building on last year’s nominations, I am really looking forward to reading this year’s entries. The deadline for nominations to be submitted is 25 July 2018.

Nominate now for the Civil Service Awards

The Civil Service Awards Community is a new section on Civil Service World that aims to celebrate past winners, inspire people to nominate in 2018, and help us all to learn from good practice. If you’ve ever won or been shortlisted for an award, register your interest to hear about future events and projects for awards alumni

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