I am a Senior Policy Adviser at the College of Policing, looking at the Organisational Development Transformation Framework. I have developed the Blue Light Wellbeing Framework and the Psychological Risk Management: Introduction and Guidance document which looks at vulnerable roles.

My view on wellbeing 

Being asked to describe, ‘what is wellbeing?’ is quite a tall order, as it means so many things to so many people. What I usually begin any presentation with, is what this means in terms of our working life.

People often describe Wellbeing in physical terms: plenty of exercise, eating the right things, don’t drink too much, don’t smoke, the importance of getting enough sleep; and so on. What we miss out here unfortunately is that this narrative describes but a small piece of the wellbeing construct, and may be one which most of us have some ideas around controlling and regulating. What is not so obvious perhaps is the impact that financial wellbeing, psychological wellbeing and societal wellbeing have on us as human beings. These are often the areas that ‘catch us out’. I would suggest three facets combine to have the most impact on our wellbeing as a whole, and these are leadership, resilience and creating the right environment for us to successfully experience meaning and purpose in our working life. It is critical that leaders recognise the strategic importance of these areas of work. Competence in both the recognition and practical intervention is a key area of leadership.

Generally speaking most involved with the emergency services set out to have a meaningful and purposeful life. Sometimes things happen that interfere or stand in the way of this, so-called ‘life events.’

However, we will skip around this for now and concentrate on the day-to-day, or what we may describe as the drip-drip-drip of everyday life that can cause people to fall out of favour with even themselves, dependent on some of the notions we introduce on this site and in the framework.

For the vast majority of us, we will spend a very high percentage of our waking hours of adult life at work. Estimates suggest as much as 30% of our entire life, or 110,000 hours. Therefore it makes perfect sense that if work can be meaningful and purposeful one may have, well, ‘cracked it!’

The focus of this site is the wellbeing of emergency services staff, amongst which meaning and purpose are probably more pronounced, as there is, generally speaking, more of an internal impetus driving workers to give greater levels of effort towards a public need; a call to public good or vocation at the very least.

One of the peculiarities of emergency services management is the strong reliance on workers sense of psychological contract, and the notion that when this is high, meaning and purpose are also high. This, in turn, resulting in high levels of discretionary effort.

It could be argued that one of the key differences between public and private service management is that reliance on high levels of discretionary effort from the workforce?

One of the clear ways to maximise discretionary effort is to manage the workforce in a manner congruent with the wellbeing points included within the framework. Hence we feel that it will provide an excellent reference for police and going forward, other emergency services across the country.