Integrated Planning and Reporting
For NSW councils, planning and implementing strategies aimed at organisational and workforce development is part of the larger Integrated Planning and Reporting (IP&R) framework. This framework, shown below, locates workforce planning as part of a council’s resourcing strategy.
The IP&R framework means that many councils incorporate their health, safety and wellbeing strategies and actions into their Workforce Management Plan. For example, Wollondilly Shire Council has developed the action component of its Workforce Management Plan around five key strategies which are:
Health, wellbeing and diversity
Work health and safety
The health, wellbeing and diversity strategy deals with staff wellbeing and specifically acknowledges mental health as one of the necessary elements. The work health and safety strategy is where the Council plans and implements it WHS commitments.
It is not mandatory to include the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Plan in the Workforce Management Plan. Bellingen Shire Council
has built the action component of its Workforce Management Plan around the three strategies of Attract, Develop, Retain. In the Retain segment of the Plan there are actions in relation to employee health and wellbeing.
However, the Council has a separate plan which details its WHS strategies and actions. Having a separate plan is one way of giving focus to work health and safety and is common for those councils who are self-insured from a worker’s compensation perspective or want to prioritise safety for a period of time.
Whatever way councils choose to manage the mechanics of their plans, certain ‘givens’ need to be stated when planning for a mentally healthy workplace. These are:
In the WHS area, special emphasis needs to be given to minimising and managing psychological injuries as this remains an underdone aspect of work health and safety
A holistic approach to health and wellbeing in the workplace means policies, programs and activities need to address both physical and mental health with an emphasis on mental health. Evidence indicates that it is still poorly understood in the workplace and not adequately included in wellbeing programs.
In the information that follows it is assumed that a council’s WHS plan or WHS strategy in the Workforce Management Plan may need strengthening to give sufficient attention to the prevention of psychological injuries.