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Reaction to the government response to Dame Carol Black's review of the health of the working age population

Steve Overell

04 December 2008

Reacting to the government’s response to Dame Carol Black’s review of the health of the working age population, David Coats, associate director of policy at The Work Foundation, said:

‘The government’s response to Dame Carol’s review offers a positive prospectus for real improvements in Britain’s workplaces. We particularly welcome the new electronic fit note, the investment in GP training to ensure that GPs are aware of the routes through which work can affect health, the expansion of occupational health services and the commitment to a challenge fund, which will incentivise improvements in performance, especially in small and medium sized firms.

‘The task now is to implement the recommendations and improve employer understanding of the relationships between work, health and organisational performance. The focus must shift to the organisation of work, the design of jobs and the performance of management. Healthy workplaces are those where employees are treated fairly and with respect, trust both their employer and their colleagues and believe that the efforts they make are properly rewarded.

‘No-one should underestimate the scale of the ambition here. Many of Britain’s workplaces have witnessed reductions in job quality over the last decade, with an intensification of work, widespread dissatisfaction with pay and a decline in the control that workers have over their jobs. Not just government but all stakeholders (including unions and employers’ representatives) must shoulder their share of the responsibility for improving the quality of employment.’

Notes to editors

David Coats is available for interview.

Media enquiries to Stephen Overell on 00 44 (0) 207 976 3507 or 07970 765251.

The Work Foundation is an independent research and consultancy organisation.