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Freedom of Information request - Staff Counselling Services and Occupational Health Referrals

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Dear Open University,

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, could you please provide me with the following information:

COUNSELLING AND MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES - UNIVERSITY STAFF

1. The total number of staff that accessed University counselling and mental health services in the last eight academic years (please present in a table showing figures for each academic year and breakdown by category (e.g. anxiety, bereavement loss, work-related etc...))

a) How many were academic staff?
b) How many were professional services staff?
c) How many were male?
d) How many were female?

2. Where data are available in the last eight years, please detail what was the average wait time for a staff member applying to see a counsellor to seeing a counsellor?

OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH

3. During the last eight academic years how many staff members were referred to Occupational Health (please highlight whether these were self-referrals, management referrals, or referrals falling into different categories)?

a) How many were academic staff?
b) How many were professional services staff?
c) How many were male?
d) How many were female?

4. How many staff members are currently on the waiting list to see Occupational Health?

If the decision is made to withhold some of this data using exemptions in the Data Protection Act, please inform me of that fact and cite the exemptions used.

If you need any clarification then please do not hesitate to contact me. If some parts of this request are easier to answer than others, I would ask that you release the available data as soon as possible.

I would be grateful if you could confirm in writing that you have received this request, and I look forward to hearing from you within the 20 working day statutory time period.

Yours faithfully,

Nicky Michaels

Freedom-of-Information, Open University

Dear Nicky

I am writing to acknowledge receipt of your Freedom of Information Request.

Your request is receiving our attention and you will hear from us again within 20 working days.

Yours sincerely

Information Rights Assistant
Academic Policy and Governance

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Freedom-of-Information, Open University

Dear Nicky,

Thank you for your Freedom of Information request.

In your first question you asked for the total number of staff that accessed University counselling and mental health services in the last eight academic years.
The Open University does not have a service for staff that is dedicated to counselling and mental health services. We do have an employee assistance programme which is confidential and operated by a third party. We do not know how many staff have contacted this advice line in respect of mental health and counselling, as the service provides confidential advice to staff on a number of issues including financial, legal, personal and health. So I am sorry that this information is not held. Re Question 2, again the information is not held.

In your third question you asked how many staff members were referred to Occupational Health in the last eight years. This is reported to the University's Health and Safety Committee and I have extracted the figures from this report. The papers available go back five years. We do not report Male/Female, but we do now report by category of staff. Unfortunately the period of reporting has not been a whole year (apart from 2016/17), but represents a nine- or six-month period. I hope that this will give you sufficient information to extract any trends. In order to provide the information in full, exactly as you have specified and going back for eight years would require looking back into correspondence etc, and as the University's internal reporting has been fulfilled, the information may not be held. The figures below represent management referrals, as all referrals are progressed this way.

12 months9 months6 months9 months6 months
03/16-02/1704/15-12/1504/14-09/1404/13-12/1304/12-09/12
Academic26
Academic-related83
Total Ac and Ac-rel109506486
Associate Lecturers30331526
Support16611056116
Total305193135228154 (no breakdown by category of staff available)

I hope the information we have been able to provide is useful. Should you require anything further please contact this office again. If you wish to ask for a review of the way your request has been handled, please email [email address] with ‘Freedom of Information appeal’ in the subject line. You should explain why you believe the University has not observed the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act. Freedom of Information Appeals are considered by the University Secretary or his delegate and you will have a further right of appeal to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Yours sincerely,

Open University Information Rights Team
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Academic Policy and Governance, Charles Pinfold Building, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, UK
 +44 (0)1908 653994 | [email address]|  http://www.open.ac.uk/foi/main/

Dear Freedom-of-Information,
Thank you so much for your prompt and helpful response.
I would be extremely grateful if you could attach the occupational health information as a word table or excel table please. The way that this currently appears via the formatting of what do they know site, means that it is virtually unreadable (even if it looked fine upon sending it).
Yours sincerely,

Nicky Michaels

Freedom-of-Information, Open University

1 Attachment

Dear Nicky

I am sorry that you was unable to read the table information. Please find attached a Word table.

Kind Regards
Mel

Mel Augusto
Information Rights Assistant
Academic Policy and Governance, Charles Pinfold Building, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, UK
 +44 (0)1908 653994 | [email address] |  http://www.open.ac.uk/foi/main/

Be GREEN, keep it on the SCREEN

Dear Freedom-of-Information,
Thanks for your response and for providing a table of the information concerning occupational health figures. I'm afraid the 6 month, 9 month and then year reporting does not provide information that is usable for the purposes of a pan-HEUK study (if it were 6 months throughout, this would be possible). If there is the possibility of extracting data that reports this on an annual (or even 6 month throughout) basis, that will enable me to include Open University in the study.
Yours sincerely,

Nicky Michaels

Freedom-of-Information, Open University

Dear Nicky

We will look into this for you.

Regards
Mel

Dear Freedom-of-Information,
Thank you for looking into this - much appreciated.

Yours sincerely,

Nicky Michaels

Freedom-of-Information, Open University

Dear Nicky,

I would like to confirm that I did look into whether we held the statistics on a regular reporting period, but unfortunately we do not have this. We also changed service provider a couple of years ago and so we cannot ask out current provider to provide the statstics.

I'm sorry I have been unable to help.

Regards,

Beverley

Beverley Midwood Senior Manager – Equality and Information Rights
Academic Policy & Governance
The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA
Tel: +44 (0) 1908 653994

Academic Policy & Governance
Providing expert, professional services

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