Belfast City Council is the local authority responsible for the city of Belfast. In May 2014, 60 councillors were elected to represent the people of Belfast in the expanded city.
With almost 2,500 employees, Belfast City Council now serves 333,000 residents and is responsible for new powers and services, including land-use planning, community planning, and off-street parking. From 2016, the Council has also had responsibility for enhanced economic, physical, and social regeneration.
What Belfast City Council did
As member of Business in the Community, Belfast City Council availed of a number of workshops relating to health and wellbeing, and, as a result, developed its own employee Health and Wellbeing strategy in 2013. The aim of the strategy was to deliver a coordinated approach to all aspects of health and wellbeing activities. Building on policies, procedures, and practices in place, the new strategy combined everything, identified partnership opportunities, and packaged them into programmes with coherent, streamlined, and coordinate outcome focused objectives.
Annual actions are based on the four strands of Business in the Community’s Workwell Model (Better Work, Better Mind and Body, Better Relationships and Better Support), are reviewed annually, and communicated appropriately through the Corporate Communications team. A dedicated health and wellbeing page was developed on the employee intranet system, and the overall strategy is overseen by the HR/OD Manager and championed by the Director of OD.
Activity plans for Health and Wellbeing are developed in response to consultation with employees and often tailored to their interests. An example of one of the Council’s employee engagement initiatives is the staff suggestion scheme: Brainwave. A result of this suggestion scheme has been the launch weekly lunchtime yoga courses which are now run a few times a year due to their popularity. The Council also has a number of staff networks in place representing a variety of groups from women to LGBT communities.
Impacts and Outcomes
First organisation in NI to be recognised as an IiP Health and Wellbeing Award Winner
52 managers completed Stress Awareness courses
Almost 300 employees attended positive mental health training
Staff turnover is down to 7.9%
First public sector organisation to sign up to the Mental Health Charter
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