New Health at Work Policy Unit launched by Lancaster University’s Work Foundation

Health at work

24 October 2014

A new policy unit says the Government must reassess its strategy to achieve real improvements in health and wellbeing in the workplace.

The Health at Work Policy Unit’s first paper recommends that the Government must comprehensively reform its strategy if it’s to tackle the barriers that remain for many businesses in implementing health and wellbeing programmes and consider new and alternative policy options such as tax incentives, a levy system, or local budget pooling.

The new policy unit was launched on Tuesday 21 October 2014 at an event with Professor Dame Carol Black and Professor Sir Cary Cooper from Lancaster University Management School.

The paper, The Way Forward: Policy Options for Improving Workforce Health in the UK, is the first in a series planned by the Health at Work Policy Unit. Its aim is to stimulate discussion and debate around possible policy measures which can increase the number of employers who are active and effective in workplace health promotion. The Unit will provide ongoing commentary and publish papers which respond to relevant political debate.

In the paper, the lead author, Dr Zofia Bajorek, found numerous barriers remain to the implementation of health and wellbeing policies and companies are continuing to neglect health and wellbeing given the strong business case.

The Health at Work Policy Unit – supported by NAPP Pharmaceutical Holdings Limited and Bupa – will present the Government with a broad range of options to further encourage employers to promote health and wellbeing.

Commenting on the launch, Professor Dame Carol Black, member of the Health at Work Policy Unit steering group, said: "I am delighted to be at the launch of the Health at Work Policy Unit. The mental and physical health of the UK workforce presents considerable challenges, and the economic and social consequences for the labour market and for politicians will continue to grow. This new Unit will provide a much-needed 'hub' for innovative ideas, evidence-based proposals, evaluative data, and examples of successful practice, from both the UK and the global stage."

Lancaster University’s Work Foundation transforms people’s experience of work and the labour market through high quality applied research that empowers individuals and influences public policies and organisational practices.