Information and documents relating to staff wellbeing in higher education

Vida Douglas made this Freedom of Information request to University of Brighton

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The request was successful.

Dear University of Brighton,

I am writing to request information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. I would be interested in any information held by your organisation regarding my request on staff wellbeing in Higher Education (HE).

I would like to request the following information, covering the last 12 months:

1. The job title of the senior manager with lead responsibility for staff wellbeing in the University.
2. The number of mental health specialist staff available within the university to support staff wellbeing.
3. A copy of the University’s Policy (procedures)/other relevant document(s) to support the wellbeing of staff.
4. The type of services offered to support staff wellbeing in the University
5. The number of referrals to services offered where staff wellbeing was a primary reason for the referral
6. Staff take up (number) by each service offered to support staff wellbeing.

Please provide the above information in the form of electronic files.

If it is not possible to provide the information required due to the information exceeding the cost of compliance limits identified in section 12, please provide assistance under section 16, obligation of the Act, as to how I can refine my request.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to receiving the above information.

Yours faithfully,

Vida Douglas

FOI, University of Brighton

9 Attachments

Dear Vida

Thank you for your Freedom of Information Act Request. Please find our response in line below.

Should you wish to seek a review of this response to your request, please write to Mr S Dudderidge, Registrar and Secretary, 8th Floor, Cockcroft Building, Lewes Road, Brighton BN2 4GJ. If this fails to resolve the matter then you have the right to apply to the Information Commissioner for a decision.

Yours sincerely

Rachel

Rachel Page
Head of Data Compliance and Record Management

[email address]
01273 64 2010

Vice Chancellors Office
University of Brighton
8th Floor, Cockcroft Building
Lewes Road
Brighton
BN2 4GJ

From:
Sent: 25 November 2018 11:18
To: FOI <[email address]>
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Information and documents relating to staff wellbeing in higher education

Dear University of Brighton,

I am writing to request information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. I would be interested in any information held by your organisation regarding my request on staff wellbeing in Higher Education (HE).

I would like to request the following information, covering the last 12 months:

1. The job title of the senior manager with lead responsibility for staff wellbeing in the University.

Within the University of Brighton there is no single defined role in relation to wellbeing. In a sense that is because the topic of wellbeing cuts across many areas within the institution and its organisational arrangements. The best available response to the question would be that various aspects at a senior level sit with the Director of OSAHS, Director of People and the University Registrar. Sitting beneath these senior staff would be a further tier of heads of services and managers who hold responsibilities and duties to support key operational activities and strategies that underpin and relate to staff wellbeing.

2. The number of mental health specialist staff available within the university to support staff wellbeing.

The university currently does not have any mental health first aiders but is currently reviewing a strategy and policy to support the introduction of mental health first aiders.
Staff have access to the university OH service who would undertake an initial assessment and element of support which may include the recommendation to refer individuals to external specialists to support mental health issues, this would include amongst other aspects of mental health; counselling, CBT therapies and indeed liaison with staff GP and other services as necessary. (I note that the question specifically relates to staff mental health and it is worth mentioning that there are different support mechanisms and services available to students.) All staff and members of their families have direct access to a telephone personal counselling helpline which is confidential and which includes all aspects of mental health. In addition to a workplace referral to OH, staff can also make an independent self-referral. The OH team currently consists of two qualified OH practitioners and are supported through an external OH physician.

3. A copy of the University’s Policy (procedures)/other relevant document(s) to support the wellbeing of staff.

The University of Brighton does not have a single wellbeing policy. Indeed the definition and topic of wellbeing covers a multitude of work functions and support services. It might be better to approach the question of the wellbeing policy as being more related to a wellbeing strategy approach. Wellbeing is reflected in the institutional health safety policy for which there is also oversight by the institutional safety and wellbeing committee and a healthy lives sub committee for which there are also supporting terms of reference. There is a wider set of supporting policies within the human resources (see attached) scope of work which support the diverse nature of wellbeing. It could be further supported by our access to wider facilities such as those within our various sport and recreation services, for which there is a considerable staff discount, transport and sustainability policies which could also be argued to support staff wellbeing.

4. The type of services offered to support staff wellbeing in the University

As with the previous discussion around the challenges of defining wellbeing in terms of a policy and topic it has been also suggested that there are a wide range of services that are beneficial to staff that support physical and emotional wellbeing. Wellbeing is not simply related to one aspect, but would encompass wider policies that support professional development, working conditions, flexibility, leave arrangements (e.g. carer leave and support), transport and recreational activities, healthy eating, catering and staff welfare arrangements, first aid, managerial training and CPD relating to equality and diversity and disability. There are further approaches supporting staff with other needs, e.g. LGBT and carer networks/groups which could also be viewed as supporting wellbeing. The university has a professional OH service, as previously stated with two full time OH practitioners. Which together with advice from the OH physician would be instrumental in assessing and directing staff to further services.

5. The number of referrals to services offered where staff wellbeing was a primary reason for the referral

In effect all staff accessing OH services would be deemed in relation to their physical or mental health needs and as such come under the generic umbrella of wellbeing. Please see attached graph showing the referral causes to OH.

Also attached in the Health and Safety Policy, Terms of Reference for Healthy Lives Sub Committee and Safety and Wellbeing Committee.

6. Staff take up (number) by each service offered to support staff wellbeing.

Refer to attached graph.

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