National Healthy Workplace Framework Ireland – a major new policy initiative
The Irish Ministry of health has launched a major new initiative of workplace health promotion just before Christmas 2021. This long-awaited framework has undergone an extensive period of development over recent years and the launce in December 2021 prepares the way for its implementation during 2022 and beyond.
The development of the National Healthy Workplace Framework is a priority in the implementation of the Healthy Ireland Strategic Action Plan. It recognises that workplaces have the potential to impact on the lives of a significant proportion of the population and currently there are over 2m in employment in Ireland. The development of this framework was overseen by the Department of Health and the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation. It is important to recognise that many workplaces in Ireland have already embraced the health and wellbeing agenda however the development of this new framework creates an opportunity to ensure it becomes embedded in the culture of all workplaces.
Development of Framework
The Framework is underpinned by robust evidence and public consultation as well as ongoing engagement with key stakeholders including the HSE, Health and Safety, Human Resources, Occupational Health and Academia. In order to build capacity for wellbeing in the workplace a Post Graduate Certificate on Workplace Wellness was developed by the National University of Ireland, Galway. To support the development of the course seed funding was provided by both Departments and the course has attracted interest from both public and private sectors. It is a part-time course delivered over one academic year and the fourth course commenced in September 2021.
The Framework was published in December 2021 and Healthy Ireland in the Department of Health have oversight and responsibility for implementation which will include the appointment of a National Implementation Group and the development of an Action Plan to guide the work for the next four years. This will include assigning leadership roles and responsibilities for implementation with key partners and the development of effective partnerships with other Government Departments and policy and programme leads to support health and wellbeing in the workplace.
There are seven key Objectives in the Framework:
- Build implementation structures
- Raise awareness
- Drive engagement
- Transform culture
- Provide supports
- Share good practice
- Drive quality improvement and ensure sustainability.
To inform the implementation an Options Appraisal was commissioned which involved reviewing the high-level objectives, gathering evidence, and engaging with key stakeholders who have a role in the implementation of the framework. A number of models of delivery have been identified taking account of national and international evidence as well as the priorities of stakeholders and the viability and sustainability of each model. The development of a website to support workplaces is also under development.
For more information, see: http://www.gov.ie/workplaceframework