Briefing aims to help councils tackle public health first-hand

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued its first briefing for local government on workplace health.

The briefing, published in July, was one of a set of three public health briefings created for local authorities; the other two cover tobacco and physical activity.

From April next year local councils in England will take over the role of improving the public health of their communities. The briefings are designed to help those working within local government by providing advice on which actions are most effective in improving health, and offer the best value for money, said NICE.

The guidance includes links to many other resources, such as the Health and Safety Executive’s management standards for work-related stress and NICE’s guidance on promoting mental wellbeing at work.

The guidance is relatively general in nature and includes, for example, advice on offering multi­disciplinary back management programmes or cognitive behavioural therapy in small groups for employees with low back pain or stress-related conditions.

Similarly, for mental health conditions the briefing has suggested options such as considering flexible working where practical to enhance employees’ sense of control and improve job satisfaction and promoting a management style that encourages participation, delegation and so on.

Professor Mike Kelly, director of the Centre for Public Health Excellence at NICE, said: “The local government public health briefings highlight why each topic is an important issue to tackle and how local communities will benefit as a result, presented along with examples of good practice and quick facts and figures to make a case for action.”

The guidance offers advice on issues such as implementing and enforcing smoke-free policies and designing new developments to encourage physical activity.

It has been put together with input from councillors and local government officers but is based on recommendations from existing NICE public health and clinical guidance, added the institute.

For more information visit the NICE website.

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