Occupational Health news in brief

Council’s flawed decisions

A report by auditors KPMG has concluded that Cheltenham Borough Council incurred more than £2.1m in costs during its dispute with a former managing director. Last June, the council lost a £1m High Court battle against Christine Baird, who it had accused of knowingly withholding a history of mental health problems when she applied in 2002. She left the council in 2005 on an ill-health pension. KPMG also highlighted flaws in the council’s decision-making, and recommended 26 improvements.

‘Observatory’ planned

Tenders were invited during March for interested parties to run the government’s proposed National Centre for Working-Age Health and Wellbeing. It is hoped the centre, a key plank of national director for health and work Dame Carol Black’s workplace health reforms, will become an authoritative health, work and wellbeing “observatory”.

A practical handbook

The second edition of Employment Law and Occupational Health: A Practical Handbook was published in March. The book, by Occupational Health’s continuing professional development editor Greta Thornbory, and lawyer and regular contributor Joan Lewis, has been updated to include changes on discrimination, disability discrimination, work-related stress, corporate manslaughter and workplace bullying. It is published by Wiley: www.wiley.com.

Arthritis campaign afoot

A campaign has been launched to help the UK’s 6.5 million people with arthritis and musculoskeletal disorders receive more support to help them stay at work. The ‘Charter for Work’ is being run by the Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance – an umbrella body of 34 member organisations, including the Arthritis Research Campaign. It urges employers to make better use of OH resources and embrace the new ‘fit note’.

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