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The National Forum for Health and Wellbeing at Work

In December 2015 The National Forum for Health and Wellbeing at Work was established. The founders were Professor Sir Cary Cooper, 50th Anniversary Professor of Organizational Psychology and Health at Alliance Manchester Business School and Dr Paul Litchfield, the then Chief Medical Officer for BT. The Forum is focussed on improving workplace wellbeing in the UK and globally.


We may have a love-hate relationship with our phones and email but they indisputably make staying connected easier than ever.

There are downsides to the technology we’ve grown accustomed to. Increasingly there’s evidence that mobile phones have added extra hours to our working days (without any increase in what we produce), elsewhere many workers feel that the constant interruptions that email and instant messages create prevent them from getting work completed when it requires concentration. With even more technology coming at us all of the time it’s probably time to think about creating some rule

Therefore, this subgroup has created a set of guidelines to help workers balance their own well-being with the benefits of being connected (can be seen in resources).

We have had numerous headlines on lack of compassion in healthcare, in social care and in the wider public services as well. We have heard also about toxic leaders in the private sector; psychopathic managers, the bullying bosses and colleagues who have had a ‘social skills bypass’. On the other hand, most of us have experienced empathic and compassionate leaders and colleagues, who have engaged us as valued colleagues in achieving our personal and organisational goals in a way that has enhanced our wellbeing, and ultimately our productivity.

This subgroup has developed document which sets out what can happen in organisations when empathy and compassion are missing, and goes on to set out some of the evidence which demonstrates that adopting a compassionate approach in organisations improves not only staff wellbeing, but also productivity. Their guide and toolkit shows the business case for compassion at work and provide examples of how this could be implemented in practice (can be seen in resources.

We know that every line manager, supervisor and leader has a critical role to play in supporting employees to stay well and in work. Evidence shows that how employees are managed, and the behaviours and competency of line managers, are crucial to creating a healthy and inclusive workplace where everyone can flourish.

There is already an impressive, if sometimes confusing, wealth of information available to support managers. Therefore, this subgroups is working with partners to identify the key support and skills that line managers and owner/managers need across all sizes of organisations to create inclusive and supportive workplace environments. The group will also explore how Government can help to promote these skills and spread best practice, to the widest set of employers.

To protect and promote the mental and physical wellbeing of the next generation, significant change to the design and organisation of work will be required in order to maximise productivity without damaging wellbeing. This subgroup seeks to identify how to protect and enhance the wellbeing of young people starting out at work, and collate and share examples of good practice and recommendations for educators, employers and young people themselves.

More organisations are now trying to improve employee health and wellbeing by implementing individual level interventions. However, it is important to recognise that there is often no "quick fix". Organisations need to ensure that the implemented interventions are appropriate for their employees needs and not just implemented because they are popular. To help organisations plan, implement and evaluate effective interventions, this subgroup will develop guidelines and a strategic process for organisations to follow when they want to start implementing individual interventions.

Group agenda

The mission of the forum is to improve workplace health and wellbeing

  • To improve the workplace in the UK and globally
  • Inspire people and organisations to challenge their thinking about the opportunities that healthy high performing people bring to work
  • Create shared values that both business and people can realise
  • Bring the most innovative evidence-based thinking to organisations
  • Integrate the psychosocial determinants of health drivers of business performance
  • The Forum is seen as THE ‘go to’ body for human-focussed performance interventions at work
  • Government and organisational policies are developed as a direct or indirect result of considered policy statements
  • Like-minded institutions work in collaboration with the Forum
  • Absenteeism and presenteeism are no longer major concerns
  • The workforce is more content
  • There is an increase in productivity per capita
  • Positive staff health is recognised as a source of competitive advantage
  • Collate evidence and produce position papers
  • Develop toolkits
  • Write magazine and newspaper articles and editorials in relevant outlets
  • Contribute to government policy papers and consultation exercise inputs
  • Contribute to national initiatives/innovations
  • Bring together small groups of HR Directors, Chief Medical Officers and Directors of Health and Wellbeing to reinforce the evidence and belief that 'good health is good for business, and good business is good for health'

In December 2015 a small number of Chief Medical Officers and HR Directors of leading global companies and major public sector institutions (e.g. BT, Rolls-Royce, NHS, Shell, John Lewis Partnership, BP) met to discuss the possible creation of a Forum for Health and Wellbeing, which was hosted by ALLIANCE Manchester Business School at the University of Manchester.

They discussed what the purpose would be, how this could be achieved and what the outputs would be. Further, what would be the medium to long-term measure of success?

They also explored key business areas, such as productivity, leadership, decision making, behavioural safety, performance indicators, diversity and inclusion, delivery and customer focus to create a healthy work culture.

In 2016, The National Forum for Health and Wellbeing at Work was launched. It was led by Professor Sir Cary Cooper, Alliance MBS’ 50th Anniversary Professor of Organisational Psychology and Dr. Paul Litchfield, Chief Medical Officer of BT.

The forum has now increased its membership to 35 major large and global organisations, including Shell, Rolls-Royce, NHS England, BP, Marks & Spencer, Barclays, Twitter, Microsoft, John Lewis Partnership, GSK, BUPA, HSE, CIPD, the UK Government, Mace, Serco and more.

To date, the forum has explored some of the important topics challenging most organisations:

  • The role of line-managers in creating healthier workplaces and enhancing productivity
  • The impact of work-related technology (i.e. work emails) on people’s lives
  • The impact of a multi-generational workforce on health and wellbeing
  • Compassion and empathy at work
  • Long working hours culture and its impact on health and wellbeing
  • Supporting SME’s to create ‘good work’
  • The evidence of individual wellbeing interventions eg. mindfulness, mental health first aiders
  • Financial wellbeing
  • The impact of sleep on health and performance

Microsoft logo

What works wellbeing

Rolls Royce





Health and Safety Executive


Public Health England

Lancashire Constabulary

Royal Mail

NHS England


Department of Health and Social Care

Bupa logo

NHS Employers

Cancer research UK

Local government association

Aon logo


Sir Cary Cooper
Sir Cary Cooper The University of Manchester, 50th Anniversary Professor of Organizational Psychology & Health and President, CIPD
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Paul Litchfield
Paul Litchfield What Works Centre for Wellbeing, Chair
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David Roomes
Dr David Roomes FRCP FFOM FACO Rolls-Royce, CMO and Group Director for Health, Safety, Sustainability & Environment
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Richard Caddis
Dr Richard Caddis MRCGP MFOM BT, Director of Health, Safety & Wellbeing and Chief Medical Officer
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Steve Boorman
Dr Steve Boorman Empactis, Director of Employee Health, Chair Council for Work and Health
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Alistair Fraser
Dr Alistair Fraser Royal Dutch Shell plc, Vice President Health
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Nick Davison
Nick Davison John Lewis Partnership, Head of Health, Leisure and Hotels
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Monika Misra
Monika Misra GlaxoSmithKline, Head of Health and Wellbeing, Europe
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Richard Heron
Richard Heron BP, VP Health and CMO
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Jonathan Jones Government Legal Department, Permanent Secretary & Treasury Solicitor, Civil Service Health & Wellbeing Champion
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Karl Simons
Karl Simons Thames Water Utilities, Chief Health, Safety and Security Officer
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fiona Adshead
Dr Fiona Adshead Chair of the Sustainable Healthcare Coalition and representative of the CMO network
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Beth Ryder Marks & Spencer, Performance, Recognition and Wellbeing Manager
Dominic Johnson
Dominic Johnson Barclays, Head of Central Employee Relations and Global Wellbeing
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Katrina Wright Pentland Brands Ltd, Chief Human Resources Officer
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Therese Procter Representing Tesco, Former HR Director
Peter Brown
Peter Brown HSE Deputy Director, Health and Work Programme
Peter Cheese
Peter Cheese CIPD, CEO
Tony Vickers-Byrne
Tony Vickers-Byrne chartered FCIPD CIPD, Chief Advisor for HR Practices
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Deborah McKenzie
Deborah McKenzie Public Health England, Chief People Officer
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No profile photo
Bruce Daisley Twitter, VP EMEA
Valerie Hughes-D'Aeth
Valerie Hughes-D'Aeth BBC, HR Director
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David Fox
David Fox Serco, HR Director
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Andrew Rhodes
Andrew Rhodes QPM Lancashire Police, Chief Constable Lancashire Constabulary; National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) Lead for well
Shaun Davis
Dr Shaun Davis Royal Mail Group, Global Director of Safety, Health, Wellbeing & Sustainability
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Sarah Sutcliffe
Sarah Sutcliffe, MA, PGDip NHS England, Head of Wellbeing and Corporate Responsibility
Charlotte Kume-Holland
Charlotte Kume-Holland Strategy Unit, Department of Health & Social Care, Senior Strategy Advisor
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Judith Grant
Judith Grant Mace, Director Health and Wellbeing
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Charelle Wigley
Charelle Wigley BUPA, Director of Internal Communications and Wellbeing
Sally Hemming
Sally Hemming Loughborough University, School of Sport and Exercise Sciences independent HR and wellbeing specialist, PhD researcher
Andrea Winfield
Andrea Winfield Microsoft UK, HR Director
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Jennifer Gardner
Jennifer Gardner NHS Employers, Assistant Director of Development of Employment
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Alex Clayton Legal & General Group, HR Director for Insurance business
Gina Radford
Gina Radford Department of Health and Social Care, Deputy CMO
Jon Ling
Jon Ling Cancer Research UK, Head of Health, Safety and Wellbeing
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Naomi Cooke
Naomi Cooke Local Government Association, Head of Workforce
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Charles Alberts from Aon
Charles Alberts Aon, Head of Health Management
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