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The new Better Health at Work Alliance is marketing itself as an industry-led, one-stop resource for workplace health and wellbeing. But what does the alliance offer that is not available from other associations?
“One of the things that, I think, really sets us apart is that we have a very broad representation – we are for the whole workplace health and wellbeing industry, not just one profession or specialist group,” says Jeremy Smith, clinical director of occupational health consultancy Occupational Health Services (South East).
“For us, it simply seemed like a good idea. There is still a lot of ignorance generally out there, among employers and the general public, about occupational health, how it works and what it can do. By making people more aware of the services organisations such as ours provide, it will help the industry and individuals; it is simply a way for us to increase our visibility and footprint as an industry.”
Smith is talking about his decision to become a member of the newest arrival on the workplace health advocacy landscape, the Better Health at Work Alliance (BHWA).
Smith’s consultancy is one of about 40 organisations that have already signed up to join the new body, which describes itself as an “industry-led, one-stop resource” for workplace health and wellbeing, and which was officially launched in March.
The organisation is led by Charlotte Cross, former manager of the Commercial Occupational Health Providers’ Association and a key member of the working group that established the Council for Work and Health in 2009.
But what is different about this organisation and, most of all – given the level of representation that already exists under the broad banner of “workplace health” – do we even need it?
The alliance comprises a number of discrete, yet connected, strands, explains Cross. First it is a membership body. As well as the 40 or so corporate members, the alliance currently has about 100 individuals “pre-registered” to join. The yearly fee is £35 for an individual and from £80 to £475 (all excluding VAT) for an organisation, based on its size.
What members get for their money is a networking and knowledge-sharing forum, and access to an internal marketplace where members can both trade and communicate and an external presence where employers and individuals can source services and guidance. The ambition is for the alliance to
Nic Paton is consulting editor of OHW+. One of the country's foremost workplace health journalists, Nic has written for OHW+ and Occupational Health & Wellbeing since 2001, and edited the magazine from 2018.