Stress continues to take its toll on Wirral Council staff

Stress is the main cause of sick leave at Wirral Council. Library picture

Stress is the main cause of sick leave at Wirral Council. Library picture

First published in News
Last updated

MORE than 2,800 Wirral Council staff have attended a stress awareness training course – but the condition is still proving to be the biggest cause of sickness absence.

Workloads and “management style” have been cited by local authority workers in a recent staff survey as being the primary reasons they are stressed-out and off sick.

A new report by the Human Resources department says mental health issues are to blame for 30% of sick leave.

This rises to 38% for social services staff.

The review shows projected days lost per employee is currently 9.17 compared to 10.23 last year.

Managers say new procedures are in place to control sickness effectively.

Several initiatives have been launched to improve performance, including appointing an in-house occupational health nurse, stress management advice and a flu vaccination programme.

The authority has also tightened up its absence management procedures and introduced a mandatory referral to occupational health for all absences after four weeks.

But cost-cutting, the threat of redundancy and major structural shake-ups are taking their toll.

The report says: “The number of people employed by the council will continue to reduce as major change programmes are implemented to increase efficiency and make financial savings.

"This has and continues to create a very uncertain and difficult context for managers and employees concerned about the level of change and job security.”

Staffing has been increased in the HR department to review all long-term absence cases, there are currently 122 such cases in the system.

Comments (17)

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3:50pm Thu 23 Jan 14

Joeblogg85 says...

Interesting, but not surprising. I see Social Services gets a special mention. The workload is only going to get worse as staffing decreases. Also, see that management style also comes in for some criticism. Some training required? 30% of people suffering from problems with mental health. No surprise there either. If further staff are to leave then maybe an offer of voluntary redundancy or severance to these people may suit both parties? Just a thought!
Interesting, but not surprising. I see Social Services gets a special mention. The workload is only going to get worse as staffing decreases. Also, see that management style also comes in for some criticism. Some training required? 30% of people suffering from problems with mental health. No surprise there either. If further staff are to leave then maybe an offer of voluntary redundancy or severance to these people may suit both parties? Just a thought! Joeblogg85
  • Score: 7

4:14pm Thu 23 Jan 14

Llamedos 1 says...

The health of a large proportion of these stressed staff could be dramatically improved by getting rid of their bully boy bosses. Surely WBC have answered their own question by stating "management style" has been a primary reason.
The health of a large proportion of these stressed staff could be dramatically improved by getting rid of their bully boy bosses. Surely WBC have answered their own question by stating "management style" has been a primary reason. Llamedos 1
  • Score: 17

5:57pm Thu 23 Jan 14

Cheesy Peas says...

Surely not, after learning all those lessons?
Surely not, after learning all those lessons? Cheesy Peas
  • Score: 9

6:20pm Thu 23 Jan 14

mpathak693 says...

Top 5 Tips To Fight The Battle against Stress , Depression And Anxiety www.emphasizerelease
.com
Top 5 Tips To Fight The Battle against Stress , Depression And Anxiety www.emphasizerelease .com mpathak693
  • Score: -3

6:39pm Thu 23 Jan 14

PaulCa says...

Maybe it's one of those mass outbreaks of collective Chronic Embitterment Disorder, developed by 1000s of staff at the same time - and unfairly directed at innocent council directors, who are just trying to earn a crust, whilst hard pressed to deliver fully on their statutory obligations to protect the health of their fellow employees?

Or maybe not.
Maybe it's one of those mass outbreaks of collective Chronic Embitterment Disorder, developed by 1000s of staff at the same time - and unfairly directed at innocent council directors, who are just trying to earn a crust, whilst hard pressed to deliver fully on their statutory obligations to protect the health of their fellow employees? Or maybe not. PaulCa
  • Score: 7

7:26pm Thu 23 Jan 14

Mary Adair says...

"Managers say new procedures are in place to control sickness effectively. "

would they be the ones which included weekly visits to harass to the victims home...sorry I mean to support the staff back to work ...a phased return, a micromanaged workload..which lasts all of one day. Would they be the new procedures ? Is this the same Council that says 'Hey Guys, we've changed, lets get that Marty Morton guy back ... and instead of blowing his whistle he can blow our trumpet! Way to go!
"Managers say new procedures are in place to control sickness effectively. " would they be the ones which included weekly visits to harass to the victims home...sorry I mean to support the staff back to work ...a phased return, a micromanaged workload..which lasts all of one day. Would they be the new procedures ? Is this the same Council that says 'Hey Guys, we've changed, lets get that Marty Morton guy back ... and instead of blowing his whistle he can blow our trumpet! Way to go! Mary Adair
  • Score: 9

7:33pm Thu 23 Jan 14

Mary Adair says...

"Managers say new procedures are in place to control sickness effectively. "

O RLY???? MEGALOLZ
Would they be the ones which included weekly visits to the victims homes to harass them with threats of capability procedures ? Sorry I mean to support the staff back to work !... Followed by a phased return, vague promises of support- a micromanaged workload..which lasts all of one day upon returning? Would they be the new procedures ? The new procedures that got rid of one outsourced Occupational Health Service as it wasn't hitting targets to get the staff back to work in a timely fashion without EVER actually addressing WHAT CAUSED THE WORKPLACE STRESS?

Is this the same Council that says 'Hey Guys, we've changed, no honest we have - lets get that St. Marty O'Mortal guy back ... and instead of blowing his whistle he can blow our trumpet! Way to go!
"Managers say new procedures are in place to control sickness effectively. " O RLY???? MEGALOLZ Would they be the ones which included weekly visits to the victims homes to harass them with threats of capability procedures ? Sorry I mean to support the staff back to work !... Followed by a phased return, vague promises of support- a micromanaged workload..which lasts all of one day upon returning? Would they be the new procedures ? The new procedures that got rid of one outsourced Occupational Health Service as it wasn't hitting targets to get the staff back to work in a timely fashion without EVER actually addressing WHAT CAUSED THE WORKPLACE STRESS? Is this the same Council that says 'Hey Guys, we've changed, no honest we have - lets get that St. Marty O'Mortal guy back ... and instead of blowing his whistle he can blow our trumpet! Way to go! Mary Adair
  • Score: 8

7:37pm Thu 23 Jan 14

Mary Adair says...

Joeblogg85 wrote:
Interesting, but not surprising. I see Social Services gets a special mention. The workload is only going to get worse as staffing decreases. Also, see that management style also comes in for some criticism. Some training required? 30% of people suffering from problems with mental health. No surprise there either. If further staff are to leave then maybe an offer of voluntary redundancy or severance to these people may suit both parties? Just a thought!
And who replaces them ? Cybermen? Replicants? Robots?
[quote][p][bold]Joeblogg85[/bold] wrote: Interesting, but not surprising. I see Social Services gets a special mention. The workload is only going to get worse as staffing decreases. Also, see that management style also comes in for some criticism. Some training required? 30% of people suffering from problems with mental health. No surprise there either. If further staff are to leave then maybe an offer of voluntary redundancy or severance to these people may suit both parties? Just a thought![/p][/quote]And who replaces them ? Cybermen? Replicants? Robots? Mary Adair
  • Score: 7

8:59pm Thu 23 Jan 14

Joeblogg85 says...

Mary Adair wrote:
Joeblogg85 wrote:
Interesting, but not surprising. I see Social Services gets a special mention. The workload is only going to get worse as staffing decreases. Also, see that management style also comes in for some criticism. Some training required? 30% of people suffering from problems with mental health. No surprise there either. If further staff are to leave then maybe an offer of voluntary redundancy or severance to these people may suit both parties? Just a thought!
And who replaces them ? Cybermen? Replicants? Robots?
Mary,

My thoughts are just that if the Council are going to have to lose a certain amount of staff in the forthcoming year, they may feel that offering a way out to some staff who are already off sick and maybe looking to go, maybe an option.

Joe.
[quote][p][bold]Mary Adair[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Joeblogg85[/bold] wrote: Interesting, but not surprising. I see Social Services gets a special mention. The workload is only going to get worse as staffing decreases. Also, see that management style also comes in for some criticism. Some training required? 30% of people suffering from problems with mental health. No surprise there either. If further staff are to leave then maybe an offer of voluntary redundancy or severance to these people may suit both parties? Just a thought![/p][/quote]And who replaces them ? Cybermen? Replicants? Robots?[/p][/quote]Mary, My thoughts are just that if the Council are going to have to lose a certain amount of staff in the forthcoming year, they may feel that offering a way out to some staff who are already off sick and maybe looking to go, maybe an option. Joe. Joeblogg85
  • Score: -1

3:09am Fri 24 Jan 14

MDRyUK says...

This article is interesting because it helps to focus attention of people in so many different ways and yet again I agree with many of the Wirral Globe Reader's comments so far. Its a little bit surprising to me that Council Members (councillors) have not debated this thoroughly already in the chamber of Wallasey Town Hall. On the other hand, nothing surprises me anymore about Wirral Council members or more especially, I suppose, Senior (yes Senior only) LGA Officers earning above PO Grade working at Wallasey Town Hall and at various other locations dotted around the borough, including Cheshire Lines Building (Brkenhead) et al !
When will the penny drop with the people of Wirral hey? Yes, all of us living in the borough. This is a serious issue and to an extent there's no way back and I can't see (at this stage) a practical solution or way forward.
Much depends on how management respond here on in. Its not all about money alone but stress is stress: ask Martin Morton?
Well, for a start its incredibly difficult to understand what he heck is going on at social services but now we know don't we ..... frontline social services staff are rebelling and going off work with stress. Others have mentioned a predominant bullying type of management style which has apparently been going on for years etc., etc. (There's plenty of collaborative evidence to support this that most Council Members know about.) Why then doesn't somebody take on board this and let us all know where we go from here?
The person in charge at the top, CEO Graham Burgess, is probably a good man to have in command at the moment I suppose because most people on Merseyside (not just on the Wirral) know he worked for Liverpool City Council Social Services back in the days of Derek Hatton's era when many of the staff were given their marching orders - even to the extent of P45's and staff wages were distributed throughout the City of Liverpool by LG Officers using black taxi cabs! So let's hope WBC don't have to descend to such a grim management style here on Wirral ............. however now we know: The Squeeze IS most definitely ON and it does appear Social Services on Wirral is sadly crumbling.
Stress is stress and is no laughing matter when it reaches such a level as has been identified by reporters at the Wirral Globe. Management at Wallasey Town Hall better come up with some realistic solutions very quickly and if Council Members really and truly care about vulnerable people they ought to have a full, frank and honest debate about ALL of the issues in the chamber at Wallasey Town Hall urgently!
Stress courses cost money and WBC hasn't got much left to waste so what on earth is going to happen next I wonder ............ probably the best person to ask is ............ yes you guessed it Martin Morton!
This article is interesting because it helps to focus attention of people in so many different ways and yet again I agree with many of the Wirral Globe Reader's comments so far. Its a little bit surprising to me that Council Members (councillors) have not debated this thoroughly already in the chamber of Wallasey Town Hall. On the other hand, nothing surprises me anymore about Wirral Council members or more especially, I suppose, Senior (yes Senior only) LGA Officers earning above PO Grade working at Wallasey Town Hall and at various other locations dotted around the borough, including Cheshire Lines Building (Brkenhead) et al ! When will the penny drop with the people of Wirral hey? Yes, all of us living in the borough. This is a serious issue and to an extent there's no way back and I can't see (at this stage) a practical solution or way forward. Much depends on how management respond here on in. Its not all about money alone but stress is stress: ask Martin Morton? Well, for a start its incredibly difficult to understand what he heck is going on at social services but now we know don't we ..... frontline social services staff are rebelling and going off work with stress. Others have mentioned a predominant bullying type of management style which has apparently been going on for years etc., etc. (There's plenty of collaborative evidence to support this that most Council Members [councillors] know about.) Why then doesn't somebody take on board this and let us all know where we go from here? The person in charge at the top, CEO Graham Burgess, is probably a good man to have in command at the moment I suppose because most people on Merseyside (not just on the Wirral) know he worked for Liverpool City Council Social Services back in the days of Derek Hatton's era when many of the staff were given their marching orders - even to the extent of P45's and staff wages were distributed throughout the City of Liverpool by LG Officers using black taxi cabs! So let's hope WBC don't have to descend to such a grim management style here on Wirral ............. however now we know: The Squeeze IS most definitely ON and it does appear Social Services on Wirral is sadly crumbling. Stress is stress and is no laughing matter when it reaches such a level as has been identified by reporters at the Wirral Globe. Management at Wallasey Town Hall better come up with some realistic solutions very quickly and if Council Members really and truly care about vulnerable people they ought to have a full, frank and honest debate about ALL of the issues in the chamber at Wallasey Town Hall urgently! Stress courses cost money and WBC hasn't got much left to waste so what on earth is going to happen next I wonder ............ probably the best person to ask is ............ yes you guessed it Martin Morton! MDRyUK
  • Score: 8

8:04am Fri 24 Jan 14

unbeleivable says...

Think they should bring Martin Morton back to sort social services out, he is the only man for the job.
Think they should bring Martin Morton back to sort social services out, he is the only man for the job. unbeleivable
  • Score: 5

10:53am Fri 24 Jan 14

PaulCa says...

btw... in reality, the headline should read:

" Unaddressed Abuse Continues To Take Its Toll On Wirral Council Staff "
btw... in reality, the headline should read: " Unaddressed Abuse Continues To Take Its Toll On Wirral Council Staff " PaulCa
  • Score: 10

10:58am Fri 24 Jan 14

PaulCa says...

unbeleivable wrote:
Think they should bring Martin Morton back to sort social services out, he is the only man for the job.
In the ideal world maybe, but this is a basket case, and he'd be under attack from unaccountable cowards and abusers starting on DAY ONE.

They've grown accustomed to receiving protection from successive Chief Executives, collusion or indifference from elected members and MPs (you know who you are), and that's how things are set to continue.
[quote][p][bold]unbeleivable[/bold] wrote: Think they should bring Martin Morton back to sort social services out, he is the only man for the job.[/p][/quote]In the ideal world maybe, but this is a basket case, and he'd be under attack from unaccountable cowards and abusers starting on DAY ONE. They've grown accustomed to receiving protection from successive Chief Executives, collusion or indifference from elected members and MPs (you know who you are), and that's how things are set to continue. PaulCa
  • Score: 11

11:23am Fri 24 Jan 14

bigfoot says...

I have first hand knowledge of the stress induced management style,mainly by people who haven't a clue. They sit in their ivory towers and BS the Councils time away. An 'elite group' used to be 'fireproof,' generally those that did little. Some friends, and I suspect manager's paramours promoted way above their level of competence or incompetence more like.
When the department had a influx of staff from up the Mersey it was inspected and was downgraded yet the authority they left actually had improved! Yet the Wirrals CEO at the time didn't even ask them in to account.
The rot set in about 4 directors ago with positive discrimination in promotion of certain people. Subsequent heads had their own equally bizarre ideas.
I have first hand knowledge of the stress induced management style,mainly by people who haven't a clue. They sit in their ivory towers and BS the Councils time away. An 'elite group' used to be 'fireproof,' generally those that did little. Some friends, and I suspect manager's paramours promoted way above their level of competence or incompetence more like. When the department had a influx of staff from up the Mersey it was inspected and was downgraded yet the authority they left actually had improved! Yet the Wirrals CEO at the time didn't even ask them in to account. The rot set in about 4 directors ago with positive discrimination in promotion of certain people. Subsequent heads had their own equally bizarre ideas. bigfoot
  • Score: 7

2:47pm Sat 25 Jan 14

Hugo1008 says...

There seems to be one universal method to go about your work in a completely stress free way, Just follow the practice of the Wirral Council Cabinet Members.

1: Carry out a complete protection of your Pay and Conditions in particular Expenses, Be not responsible for any decisions or agreements that go wrong, Always Blame someone else, Take good care to nowhere near the location of any kind of responsibility, but remember to take all the credit for sorting it out after the event.
I have never heard of a Councillor suffering from any kind of Loyalty, Sense of Duty, Obligation to the Electorate, let alone stress until they feel the threat of not being elected to wallow in the trough of plenty.

We could do no worse than to clear them all out and find some proper individuals with a sense of fair play and obligation to those who vote.
There seems to be one universal method to go about your work in a completely stress free way, Just follow the practice of the Wirral Council Cabinet Members. 1: Carry out a complete protection of your Pay and Conditions in particular Expenses, Be not responsible for any decisions or agreements that go wrong, Always Blame someone else, Take good care to nowhere near the location of any kind of responsibility, but remember to take all the credit for sorting it out after the event. I have never heard of a Councillor suffering from any kind of Loyalty, Sense of Duty, Obligation to the Electorate, let alone stress until they feel the threat of not being elected to wallow in the trough of plenty. We could do no worse than to clear them all out and find some proper individuals with a sense of fair play and obligation to those who vote. Hugo1008
  • Score: 7

3:54pm Wed 29 Jan 14

benny07 says...

wait untill your regular monthly pay ceases & you have to sign on ,you will learn what true stress is, !! think on & enjoy your job while you can,no matter what you can only do so much in one day week month or year,.
wait untill your regular monthly pay ceases & you have to sign on ,you will learn what true stress is, !! think on & enjoy your job while you can,no matter what you can only do so much in one day week month or year,. benny07
  • Score: 0

5:57pm Wed 29 Jan 14

Positive thinker says...

Benny boy,

Are you unemployed?
Benny boy, Are you unemployed? Positive thinker
  • Score: -1

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