This week we are announcing the winners of the 2019 Oscar Kilo Awards.

The Oscar Kilo Awards have been created to recognise the amazing work that has been done, and continues to be done, to provide wellbeing support across UK policing.

Each day this week we will be telling you about the fantastic work carried out by each of the winning projects. We will be focussing on a different category each day sharing your winning ideas, learnings and best practice.

The award categories reflect the six areas of the Blue Light Wellbeing Framework; Leadership, Absence Management, Creating the Environment, Mental Health, Personal Resilience and Protecting the Workforce.

Each winning project strongly met the criteria for the Awards evidencing that the project:

  • Is evidence-based, both in terms of the audience to be targeted and the messages to be conveyed.
  • Referenced the GAIN model in its planning and application.
  • Has been evaluated and can show evidence of it having had a beneficial effect on changes in knowledge, attitudes and behaviour.
  • Can be scaled up whilst maintaining quality and being cost effective.

These Award Winners were to be announced and celebrated at the Oscar Kilo Conference and Awards Evening, which was due to be held in March but cancelled due the Coronavirus outbreak. Our judges wanted to ensure they have the chance to thank everyone who entered so they’ve put together this short video to celebrate these awards virtually.

If you, or a colleague, have completed, or are working towards the Blue Light Wellbeing Framework and have created a project or programme that is making a difference to your force, and is worthy of recognition, then think about entering the 2020 Awards. We will be looking for nominations in the Autumn.

Below are all the winners of the award categories and details of their projects:

Protecting the Workforce

Winner – Lincolnshire Police

The winning Team from Lincolnshire Police

Results of an internal survey in 2015 indicated that 50% of the staff across Lincolnshire Police did not feel that their force cared about their Wellbeing. This was coupled with consistent requests from officers and staff to have access to gym facilities at their main stations. 

Lincolnshire Police introduced a programme to provide free personal training to staff across the organisation. Working with the School of Sport Science, University of Lincoln we developed a robust physical activity readiness questionnaire, referral and evaluation process. We provide a level of health screening to users, to ensure that we could not only provide data to our users on how the programme had improved their physical fitness, but also provide quantitative data that could assist in evaluating the programme. 

It was imperative that we had the right people in place to roll out this work across the force. The Chief Constable agreed to invest in training five members of staff as Fitness Mentors and put them through their Level Three Personal Training Diplomas. The Fitness Mentors use their qualification to carry out a health screening process, a successful bid for funding from Police Care UK ensured that each mentor is equipped with a health screening kit, which enables them to capture BMI data at key points through the programme.

The project has delivered on the goal of raising the profile of responsibility we all have for keeping physically fit within our policing roles and it has also delivered on the goal of making our staff feel that the force cares about their wellbeing through this investment in their personal journey to physical fitness. It has encouraged other staff to come forward with an interest to become a Fitness Mentor and support their colleagues. Our current level of referrals has increased to 42 and 16 ten week programmes have been delivered by our Fitness Mentors. At the end of a programme each user receive a quality questionnaire to rate the service and provide feedback on their experience.

It is clear from the feedback received and the number of referrals received that the project has made a positive impact on the force and users are pleased with the level of service they receive, they are impressed with the level of knowledge of the Fitness Mentors, they feel that it has improved their wellbeing and given them the confidence to exercise on their own and the ease of the referral.

The Fitness Mentors are able to meet with users in their own environment, anywhere in the force area, and due to the level of qualification, are able to provide advice on a myriad of ways to get fit. The support is flexible in that there are exit routes during the programme should the user feel that they are ready to carry on in their own and can be moved across to support through other means.

The force wellbeing programme invested in an independent evaluation to be carried out by the University of Lincoln, to ensure that the project was adding value to the force, its users and the referral processes are meeting the needs of the Fitness Mentors and the users. The scheme is now being developed nationally for the NPWS as one of the live services.

Runner-up – North Wales Police

Maria Hughes, Head of Medical Services and Wellbeing being presented with her Oscar Kilo Award by Chief Constable Carl Foulkes.

In January 2019 North Wales Police invested in a Head of Medical Services and Wellbeing. 

After funding was agreed the screening of venous blood sampling was made available for all male staff over the age of forty. The Graham Fulford Charitable Trust provided the consent forms, laboratory forms and blood taking kits. They were also the link with the laboratory and courier for the actual blood samples to be collected and processed. 

The intended outcomes were to potentially save lives, raise awareness of prostate cancer and enable staff to feel valued in the organisation with regards to their health and wellbeing. Information about Prostate Cancer UK was given out at each of the events, but also the Specialist Nurse advice line was highlighted to all staff via the Force Intranet. Advice and support was also encouraged to be accessed if required from the Head of Medical Services and Wellbeing. 344 bloods were taken in 3 locations across the Force. These tests identified 8 confirmed red results, 4 staff members have sought advice and support and some further signposting.4 staff have received the diagnosis of early onset prostate cancer and had no previous symptoms. 2 staff members had previously asked for the test from the GP, but this was declined. It is now imperative to sustain the project and ensure it is not a “one off” project. 

Personal Resilience

Winner – Lancashire Constabulary

Having a break away from the norm can have a beneficial effect on wellbeing, not only by giving time out to recover but to also help individuals to learn more about themselves and their personal triggers and stressors. We are acutely aware that we need to offer support to all our staff ranging from the universal need area of the GAIN model right through to crisis, if we are truly to embed wellbeing into our culture.

The aim of the programme is to provide Recharge Days for all our staff and officers, with particular focus on a preventative approach towards mental health and wellbeing. Supporting the health, happiness and commitment of our workforce is a huge part in making sure we are positive and productive.

The Recharge Days are conducted at the Police Treatment Centre at Harrogate, creating a safe environment in which individuals are educated in spotting signs and symptoms of stress, whilst linking them to a range of support techniques personal to them. They provide a way of bringing the mind and body together in one day demonstrating the links between good mental and physical health. 

The day includes sessions around stress and coping mechanisms, sleep, nutrition and relaxation. It also allows the attendees free time to use the facilities on offer in order to recharge. 

The referral process is simple and administered via the Wellbeing Coordinator with assistance from Force Resourcing Unit around availability. 

To date, we have delivered sessions to 410 individuals. There are always a mix of officers and staff attending from a range of departments and divisions, including officers and staff seconded to other Policing Departments. The outcome from attendance on the Recharge day is that this gives individuals the tools and knowledge to better understand themselves and in some cases others around them. They have the confidence to call upon coping strategies that they have been introduced to or recognise when they may need additional support.

Runner-up – Cumbria Constabulary

The winning Team from Cumbria with their award

The aptly named Wiser Mind Resilience Training Programme is an innovative approach developed to support police officers and staff progress through the different levels of the GAIN Pyramid. It is an evidence based cognitive behavioural resilience training process. It comprises 4 initial workshops and on-going monthly skills practice groups. 

Officers and staff identified by the GAIN model to be in crisis, not coping and struggling to cope are invited to attend the Wiser Mind programme. 

The initial evidence base for the development of the Wiser Group Programme was derived from the success of using the Wiser Mind Skill set with officers and staff having individual CBT. A Clinical Audit identified 90% of officers and staff were able to return to work. 

The full group programme is in its first year. Wait lists times for psychological intervention in OHU have been reduced by approximately 4-6 weeks.  Participant feedback indicates a very high level of satisfaction with the workshops.

Mental Health

Winner – Hampshire Police

Julie Fisher, Wellbeing Co-ordinator and project lead for PPE for the Mind which won the Mental Health award and Helen Mears, HR Business Partner and Tactical Wellbeing lead for Hampshire Constabulary.

Cleverly badged as ‘PPE for the Mind,’ this project addressed psychological and behavioural skills with the aims of improving psychological flexibility and increased personal resilience. Thus enabling individuals to manage the impact of continual exposure to difficult and traumatic experiences. In addition, the programme creates greater awareness of mental health wellbeing and breaking down barriers.

Utilising a grant from the Police Care One-in-Four fund the programme was unique in that it was specifically designed to be applicable for a policing context and to be a preventative intervention for mind health. The training programme was based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Consultant Neuropsychologist Jo Johnson was appointed to deliver the programme.

The application of the Blue Light Wellbeing Framework showed several areas which support mental and emotional wellbeing (Mental Health, Personal Resilience and Protecting the Workforce) were under developed or in development.

Subsequent EAP data has shown a 28% reduction in calls relating to mental health between the first and second quarters of 2019.  Evaluation of the course impact will continue into the future to provide longer term and more substantive conclusions. This utilises and reflects the core values of the GAIN model with a view to preventing those “reaching the top of the pyramid” and heading into crisis by providing them with the tools and knowledge to deal with policing/life and thrive in a trauma environment. Fantastic work.

Runner-up – Greater Manchester Police

This is the second award for GMP, with their ‘Be Mental Health Aware’ project. The initiative aims to enhance skills and knowledge around mental health and wellbeing through the delivery of awareness sessions to 200 managers at GMP’s largest operational district; The City of Manchester. The essence is to raise awareness about the importance of managers looking after their own mental health and to support a shift in focus to prevent mental ill health in the workplace. In GMP alone over 48,000 days were lost in 2018-2019 and of these 6,800 were recorded at the City of Manchester District. 

The project focused primarily on reducing stigma, encouraging managers to look after their own mental health, promoting the tools and information and taking positive steps to address mental health in the workplace. Some positive and surprising results were seen almost immediately in relation to the mental health sickness absence trends. Part way through delivery in October 2019, City of Manchester saw the first reduction in the number of MH sickness cases, a reduction in the average days lost and overall percentage of absence; the lowest levels of MH related sickness absence for six months. More brilliant work from GMP. 

Creating the Environment

Winner – Humberside Police

The Chief Constable made a people commitment to ‘Ensure Humberside Police is a great place to work’. The Well Together Board and Activity Plan aimed to create an environment that is conducive to improving wellbeing across the whole force.  These are some of the wellbeing initiates the board have been involved in in the last 12 months:

  • The creation of wellbeing rooms.
  • Purchasing the ‘Back Up Buddy’ app.
  • Creation of a wellbeing campaigns calendar. 
  • Annual wellbeing conference – last one held 29 November 2019.
  • Regular, quarterly use of the Oscar Kilo Wellbeing Van – used for two weeks in November/December 2019.
  • Appointment of wellbeing leads in each command and local wellbeing groups.
  • A review of catering facilities force-wide.
  • An improved Occupational Health and Wellbeing Team.
  • Working with other agencies to improve financial wellbeing such as Fideliti, Copper Pot and Police Mutual.
  • Gymnasiums introduced at Melton, Clough Road opened December 2019 and further gyms identified for Hessle, Scunthorpe and Grimsby.
  • I-resilience tool is a mandatory self-awareness tool included in all PDRs and wellbeing is included as one of the three topics for a PDR 121.
  • The development of a reintegration process to support a return to work following absence in excess of 28 days due to illness, maternity leave or career break.
  • A revised psychological health screening policy is in place in line with recommendations made by the College of Policing.
  • Sabbaticals from high risk roles – a proactive process to be progressed.
  • Collaboration with the University of Hull, Centre for Human Factors – a needs assessment for occupational and clinical psychology provisions and an occupational stress risk assessment are underway across the Force.
  • Frontline policing review findings – exploring how we can create the space for officers to adequately decompress and debrief with colleagues and supervisors.
  • A revised policy on funding staff and officers participating in Police Sports UK activities.

The overall Force sickness absence rate for the financial year ending 31 March 2019 is 4.0%.  This is a reduction on the last financial year’s (2017/18) figure of 4.4%.

Fantastic work from Humberside Police.

Runner-Up – Cheshire Constabulary

Cheshire Constabulary currently outsources its’ occupational health provision to Health Work a North West based provider. Cheshire has introduced a holistic approach to health and wellbeing support in all four of our strands of wellbeing, including:

  • Implementation of a Wellbeing Allies Scheme.
  • Half-day mental health and wellbeing awareness sessions. 
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing awareness training delivered to new intakes as part of their induction.
  • Wellbeing Rooms.
  • Preventative Programme of Care provided through the NWPB Fund.
  • Specialist Mental Health Counselling through North Staffs Mind.
  • PERMA Building Personal Resilience developed by the College of Policing has been piloted. 
  • The Oscar Kilo National Wellbeing Police Service Van visited Cheshire Constabulary.
  • A Wellbeing Calendar of events has been introduced.
  • Force a Debriefing Framework Procedure has been compiled.
  • Health and Wellbeing Booklet has been compiled.

An organisational health check is in place within the Constabulary using the GAIN model to measure the success of the health and wellbeing programme. To date success can be measured through the reduction in sickness absence from 5.02% in April to 4.26% in September 2019. Well done in creating the environment for wellbeing to thrive. 

Absence Management

Winner – Derbyshire Police

The HR Team from Derbyshire Police with their award

Absence data and Blue Light Champion Peer Supporters highlighted wellbeing issues in the workplace. A HR project explored the reasons for sickness absence, such as seasonal trends, shift group patterns, team leader interventions, emotionally demanding role and analysed the sickness data.

A further strand, working in partnership with Derbyshire County Council Healthy Workplace staff, devised a bespoke survey to identify the issues. From these survey results Derbyshire County Council created a bespoke plan to be delivered over a 12 month period within the Force Control Room. The cost analysis illustrated a decrease from WDL 9.9 days to WDL 7.4 days; which is £139,000 savings per annum. Further, the statistics show that people are coming back to work from sickness sooner.

A superb set of co-created interventions.

Runner-Up – Greater Manchester Police

As with most forces, sickness absence is a problem for GMP. Previous approaches taken to tackle this were predominantly reactive. A more transformational, innovative approach reduce sickness levels has now been adopted.

Seven key work streams were identified to drive the activity and interventions to support improved attendance:

  • Leadership, Culture and Behaviour
  • Prevention
  • Education and Training
  • Learning from others
  • Data
  • Performance Management and Reporting
  • Communication / Awareness Raising

The initial way to report sickness was to ring an automated reporting line, whereas 75% of the force preferred individuals to speak to their line manager or a named contact when reporting sick.  A significant internal communications and engagement plan was put in place to support this project and to ensure that engagement activities were approached sensitively and to ensure that key messages focused on raising awareness about appropriate support. 

Two new sickness products were launched, the first product was a monthly sickness infographic which provides high level data on sickness performance for every District and Branch. The second product profiles every individual’s sickness over the last 12 months showing how many days lost and how many short, medium or long term cases they have had during that time. This enables areas to spot trends, risks within their teams and most importantly to help identify those who need support and ensure they are appropriately receiving it.

With this and the other initiatives GMP has continued to see a steady improvement in its sickness levels. Sickness absence levels have improved across 50% of the districts and branches. Congratulations on this great work to reduce absence management. 

Leadership

Winner – Civil Nuclear Constabulary

Emma Aldred, Head of Occupational Health and Wellbeing, Civil Nuclear Constabulary

Following the creation of an holistic wellbeing service, the Civil Nuclear Constabulary fitness levels are at an all-time high. Deployability levels have increased to about 95% and overtime costs have decreased significantly. OH and physiotherapy services are now well used and, overall, the project has had a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of the workforce. The holistic approach includes:

  • Annual medicals / lifestyle assessments for all employees; 
  • Gyms at all sites; 
  • Tailored exercise/diet plans; 
  • Automatic referrals between OH&W workstreams to provide holistic support; 
  • Trained site-based employee champions supporting all workstreams, including:
  • Over 100 mental health first aiders.
  • Over 100 trained fitness instructors (trained by in-house trainers to a university accredited standard).
  • Over 20 neurodiversity workplace assessors.

A fantastic example of leadership at all levels throughout CNC. 

Runner-Up – Leicestershire Police

The force developed a Keeping in Touch (KIT) day to take place twice a year. Colleagues who were pregnant, about to commence a period of parental leave (maternity, adoption, shared parental leave), or who were on leave, or about to return to work were all invited, as were their partners, children and siblings. A survey revealed that a third of respondents had no contact with their manager or department whilst they were on leave. Therefore, managers are encouraged to attend KIT days to support their staff. 

The KIT day operates a marketplace where representatives from different departments from across the Force attend to provide advice, practical support, and information. These include:

  • Reps from finance can advise on how pay is affected; 
  • Procurement can advise on uniform and equipment; 
  • IT can advise on remote access or issues being set back up on day one; 
  • Career Development advise on courses and events that can benefit confidence, and adjustment back into the workplace;
  • Colleagues can advise on organisational changes that have taken place or will be taking place;
  • HR advise on policies, and benefits available including Childcare Vouchers; 
  • Healthy Living Advisors can provide information on achieving the police officer fitness test and healthy and active lifestyle;
  • Colleagues from the HR Service Centre record the KIT day on individual’s records to ensure payment is made;
  • UNISON, Federation and guest speakers attend, for example a breastfeeding specialist to provide support and guidance;
  • Chief Officers and senior managers from across the Force attend too. 

Children are catered for with designated play areas and toys so that parents can be as relaxed as possible to get the most from the event. A great example of leadership across the force.

Special Recognition Award – Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service

Merseyside FRS has proactively sought to challenge and change a culture where mental ill health was not talked about and support is not actively sought.  Previously this led to staff turning to negative coping mechanisms such as alcohol, smoking and isolation.

In order to challenge and change this culture and encourage the positive mental health and wellbeing of staff, they developed Critical Incident Stress Management which underpinned other mental health initiatives designed to help reduce stigma within the Service, enabling staff to speak more openly and access help and support when required.  

The Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) Team was developed using their own staff, it is committed to supporting staff who have attended or experienced a traumatic incident either in or out of the workplace.

Within the team there is a Senior Occupational Health Officer and a Psychological Therapist and Counsellor. They have also introduced Defusing Officers who are Senior Officers at Station Manager level who offer defusing to staff after they have attended a traumatic incident.

The Service has trained and developed a team of 24 Debriefing Officers who offer post-incident debrief support to crews and teams following the more serious or unusual incidents which may provoke a more unpleasant emotional response.

All those involved in the Critical Incident Stress Management Team are Mental Health First Aid trained. 

The success of this programme resulted in other services such as Liverpool John Lennon Airport Fire Service and Merseyside Police approaching the coordinators of the CISM Programme for assistance in reviewing the trauma support available in their service.

The ‘Critical Incident Stress Management’ policy is published internally and the Service is bound to maintain the policy requirements.  Resilience for all mental health work is important to ensure all policy standards are met.

Staff Leadership at every level has helped to embed the initiative within the Service, with full support from Authority members and principal officer active leadership.

Since introducing the SISM programme they have seen a reduction in long term sickness by over 50% since 2015: they have trained over 200 Mental Health First Aiders and 34 Blue Light Champions.  

Results from their staff survey in 2018 showed: 85% consider they have benefitted from support through the Occupational Health Tea and 89% stated that in general their health was good.

With the support of Wirral Mind Blue Light Project they produced a short mental health awareness film for staff that they deliver in collaboration with Police, Ambulance and Search and Rescue teams under the auspices of the Merseyside Blue light network.