Government pilots to help employers promote health and wellbeing among staff have yet to start, six months after they were first unveiled by ministers.
According to Occupational Health’s sister publication Personnel Today, HR professionals are getting increasingly fed up with the delays.
In January, health secretary Alan Johnson announced a £372m anti-obesity strategy, a key element of which was the running of pilot schemes through companies to explore how better to promote health at work.
These were due to include initiatives such as healthier canteen food and gym discounts, with employers encouraged by hints that the government might be prepared to offer financial incentives in return.
But six months on not one pilot scheme has begun and the idea of tax incentives is still at a “very early stage of development”, a Department of Health spokesman told Personnel Today. “We are working with the experts, looking at the success of schemes worldwide… to incentivise employers, organisations and individuals to encourage healthy living,” he added.
Clare Smith, HR director at charity Leonard Cheshire Disability, was scathing about the delay.
“I am not surprised. Our experience working with the government is there are lots of nice words and good ideas but it’s very difficult to put it into practice. This is just another government initiative,” she told the paper.