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HSE press release C012:06 22 May 2006

Lancashire constabulary wins HSE sponsored Public Servant of the Year award
‘Improving working lives – putting people first’

Bill Callaghan, Chair of the Health and Safety Commission (HSC) announced Lancashire Constabulary as the winner of the HSE sponsored ‘improving workings lives – putting people first’ public servant of the year award.

The award recognises and rewards those who have achieved significant success in their role as public servants, and have demonstrated commitment, endeavour and innovation in a crucial role serving their local community.

The safety and welfare at Lancashire Constabulary team created a healthy police plan including reviews of sickness absence, this established the need for early intervention by line managers to secure effective medical support. The results of their efforts was that by September last year sickness rates were down 17% on the year before, putting 25 more officers on the streets each day. Sickness rates for the support staff fell by 20% and long-term sickness absence cases more than halved.

Congratulating the finalists Mr Callaghan said, "The HSC was impressed with the calibre of the work undertaken by safety and welfare team at Lancashire Constabulary to reduce reducing sickness absence for both front line and support staff. The runners up, Causeway Health and Social Services Trust Northern Ireland, the Occupational health and the Voice care team, Stevenson College Edinburgh, through their work have benefited their local community immensely. The work they and their organisations do to promote better health and safety through improved literacy and IT skills, health screening and early intervention to provide medical support has been exemplary"

"This shows that the public sector can lead by example in tackling workplace health issues. If more organisations follow this lead we will have a healthier and more productive public sector. Too often, public sector performance is compared unfavourably with that of the private sector. These awards show what can be done with efficiency and productivity gain from relatively modest investment."

More than 35 million working days are lost each year to occupational ill health and injury. Health and safety has a crucial role to play in reducing this enormous burden, preventing work-related illness and injury and improving rehabilitation and return to work support."

Notes to Editors

  1. The Public servants of the year awards are organised by the magazine, Public Finance, with the support of sponsors including: Better Regulation Commission, CBI, CIPFA, Cabinet Office, Health and Safety Executive, MORI, Morley Fund Management, the Office of Government Commerce and Unison.
  2. This is the sixth year of the awards. Public Finance received 450 entries – a record number across 13 categories aimed at individuals, teams and projects. 39 organisations and individuals have got through to the finals – the winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on the evening of 17 May 2006.
  3. Details of the awards, including finalists and sponsors, can be found at
  4. The awards judging panel was chaired by Sir Michael Lyons, Interim Chief of the Audit Commission and members included Sir Michael Bichard, Baroness Fritchie, Sir Chirs Fox and Howell James. Sir Gus O’Donnell, Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Home Civil Service, made the keynote address at the awards ceremony.
  5. Further details of the projects undertaken by the three finalists for HSE’s ‘improving working lives – putting people first’ award can be found at

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