In policy terms, the Social Exclusion Unit report (2004) and Reaching Out: An Action Plan on Social Exclusion (2006) present the reforms required to achieve early identification of and support to those most at risk of social exclusion in later life. They also set out effective practice for health, education and social services in relation to the most socially excluded.
Choosing Health: Making Healthy Choices Easier is the government's public health White Paper. It sets out the role of the NHS as an exemplar employer, widening the workforce and improving working lives for all.
Health, Work and Well-being - Caring for our Future is a strategy put together by the Department of Health, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Health and Safety Executive to improve the health and well-being of working age people.
DWP also commissioned an independent review of the scientific evidence on work and health. The report, Is work good for your health and well-being? concludes that there is a strong evidence base showing that work is generally good for physical and mental health and well-being.
Of relevance to employers, both private and public are:
In October 2010 the 1995 Disability Act (DDA) was superceded by the The 2010 Equality Act. Disability is one of nine protected characteristics and under the act people are not allowed to discriminate, harass or victimise another person because they have any of the protected characteristics. Mental health problems is included in the definition of disability.
The Disability Equality Duty came into effect in December 2006. "This is a new way of helping the public sector make a real, positive change to the lives of disabled users and employees, ensuring that they are treated fairly and equally".
The Equality and Human Rights Commission website has a wealth of information for public authorities and disabled people on the duty.
All employers have duties under the following regulations:
Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1999), to assess the risk of stress-related ill health arising from work activities.
The Health and Safety at Work Act (1974), to take measures to control that risk.
The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) expects employers to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment for stress in their workplace, and to tackle any problems that are identified. The HSE Stress Management Standards were issued in 2004 to help this process.
Improving Working Lives: Practice Plus National Audit Instrument is a national programme for all NHS organisations, first introduced within the NHS Plan. All NHS trusts have achieved 'Practice Level'' and are working towards 'Practice Plus Standard', which is now enshrined in the implementation plan for Choosing Health.