The Blue Light Wellbeing Framework (BLWF) is a statement of intent, showing a commitment to health and wellbeing.
Organisations use the Framework to audit and benchmark themselves against an independent set of standards which have been tailored to meet the specialist needs of emergency services staff. The BLWF will help to identify what an organisation already has in place and what gaps there may be in providing the best wellbeing provision it can for employees.
The aspects of the framework are based on widespread consultation with leading academics and professionals in the field, as well as practitioners at all levels.
The framework has always been intended as an up-to-date and ambitious standard for employers to self-assess against, so that their subsequent strategy and interventions are based on evidence of need, and also what is proven (evidence-based) to improve outcomes.
Since the launch of the BLWF and Oscar Kilo in 2017, the wellbeing landscape across policing particularly has begun to see a positive shift. We have seen an increase in investment into police welfare from the government and the introduction of the Common Goal for Police Wellbeing and the National Police Wellbeing Service.
Over the past two years we have also been able to learn from the information submitted through the BLWF. This has provided us with a richer national picture of wellbeing provision.
As a result, our understanding around ‘what works’ has deepened. This has led to the publication of this updated version of the BLWF to ensure, in the spirit of continuous improvement, that it remains an up to date and relevant resource for organisations to use.
What changes have been made?
A new Occupational Health section
The most significant change, is the addition of a brand new area that focuses specifically on Occupational Health.
This area has been added to complement the Foundation Occupational Health Standards introduced by the NPWS earlier this year.
The standards are intended as guidance to establish a benchmark for the structure of Occupational Health Services, to help put in place the building blocks for services that are more consistent across the country, while still being adaptable to local demand.
Recognising that many Occupational Health Services are under pressure to meet the needs of their forces, we continue to provide as much support and guidance to forces as we can to help them adopt these standards. This additional area of the framework is intended to assist forces in this respect.
Refined and updated questions
The six existing areas of the framework remain the same. However, we have made refinements to some of the questions within those areas.
For example, within the section ‘Protecting the workforce’, we now make specific reference to Operation Hampshire and the Police Federation’s Seven Point Plan. In the ‘Mental Health’ section, we have made refinements to suggested pledges and commitments that your force or service may wish to align itself with.
Unless you are a Framework owner for your organisation, this won’t have any direct impact on how you use the Oscar Kilo website or access any of our services.
We will need to make some changes to the framework online to bring the online assessment up to date and we have written to those people in the organisation who own and are responsible for the Framework to support and guide them through the changes.
We will also be creating a new downloadable PDF version of the Framework that we will upload in due course.