The Department of Health (DoH) has published a new guide to help councils get local businesses involved with promoting public health.
It is part of the national government scheme Responsiblity Deals, but to give the responsibility to local authorities as an effective way to engage local businesses.
The guide, which they have called a toolkit for local authorities, includes simple actions which businesses could take to improve staff and customer health and well-being, such as employers encouraging active travel among their staff, promoting smoking cessation or catering outlets reducing salt in their foods.
The Department has developed the toolkit with local councils and businesses as well as the Local Government Association (LGA) and Public Health England.
It takes the work that has been done at a national level through the Public Health Responsibility Deal and makes this relevant for local authorities and local businesses. This is because engagement with small businesses on public health is best led locally – using the knowledge, contacts and expertise that local authorities have.
Chair of the Responsibility Deal health at work network, Dame Carol Black said:
With the support of local authorities [small and medium sized businesses] have a significant part to play in improving workplace health and the health of their communities.
Local authorities, armed with their new public health responsibilities, […] have the knowledge, contacts and strengthened expertise to make this happen.
This toolkit is designed to support our public health work in partnership with local authorities and other networks, using the Responsibility Deal approach to drive change at a local level.
Chairman of the LGA's community wellbeing board, Cllr David Rogers said:
This toolkit will help councils and local employers look beyond the safety of their employees and start thinking about how they can play a role in helping them be more active, eat better and reduce their stress levels.
We understand that businesses are under huge financial pressures at the moment, but hopefully we can work together to help create a happy, healthy workforce, helping to improve productivity and drive economic growth.