BT plans to hive off counselling service

BT is expanding the counselling services available to its 120,000 UK
employees by outsourcing the bulk of counselling to employee assistance company

All counselling for personal, family and work-related problems will transfer
to PPC’s nationwide team of counsellors, while a reduced in-house team of 10
will focus on stress management and trauma counselling.

Twenty-five jobs were lost at BT as a result of the outsourcing.

Bruce Greenhalgh, BT’s manager of employee assistance said the new
arrangement will mean a better service for employees and better value for
money, although he would not say how much the service will cost.

Staff will have access to more counsellors available at more locations,
through PPC’s offices.

They will be able to speak to someone over the phone 24-hours a day and get
legal and financial advice. These services were not available in-house.

"People will be more confident speaking to external counsellors that
there will be no leakage back to the company," he added.

Greenhalgh said BT has seen a steady rise in the demand for work-place
counselling, which he puts down to more awareness of counselling and an
increase in stress in society in general.

"The in-house team was managing but we felt we could provide a more
comprehensive service by using an outsourcer while retaining a core team."

Managing director of PPC Philip Sanders said: "Such a major commitment
from BT shows how valuable employee assistance programmes are to leading
employers. They promote employee well-being, are effective in combating stress
at work and play a role in guarding against potential litigation."

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