Sick days fall by third at States Works
EARLY intervention and efforts to improve mental health have been cited as effective methods that have reduced the number of sick days at States Works.
Speaking in depth about the annual report, general manager Paul Lickley said this was an exciting time for States Works, with a number of changes in the pipeline.
‘Our staff worked hard during lockdown to maintain the provision of essential services, and we have recognised their efforts in working unsociable hours,’ he said.
Last year, sickness absence fell by more than a third, and Mr Lickley said part of this can be attributed to understanding the link between mental health and overall wellbeing.
‘We have taken on a number of early intervention methods such as engaging with support services like Occupational Health and the States’ employee assistance programme, as well as up-skilling staff to become mental health trainers.
‘There are also more regular meetings with managers and supervisors where staff can raise any issues, or managers might be able to spot early signs of stress, fatigue or upset.’
Furthermore, the number of reported accidents and incidents have dropped – as have vehicle accidents.
However, the number of ‘near-misses’ reported has increased, meaning management can investigate and put preventative measures in place to further ensure the protection of staff.
‘We want to change the culture of reluctance to reporting near misses – something we are already seeing – so that we can avoid more actual incidents and make sure than these positive trends are sustained,’ Mr Lickley said.
States Works plans 'exciting transformation of service'
PREPARATION is key at States Works, particularly with the uncertainty of Brexit looming.
‘The last thing we want to happen is for supply chains to get cut or collapse following Brexit,’ general manager Paul Lickley said.
‘We want to prepare for every eventuality on any impact on supply chains.’
Things such as spares for machinery and replacement belts are always in stock at States Works, but management has placed a few more orders to ensure resilience.
‘Whenever we enter into a contract, we always identify a list of critical spares that we would need. We keep reserves in stock.
‘Because of Brexit we have increased that stock, but the public should understand that we are fully in control and confident about the continuation of business,’ Mr Lickley said.
Preparations have also been under way to phase out the use of glyphosate by the end of the year.
The herbicide has been identified by the World Health Organization as a potential carcinogen.
Mr Lickley said there were teams working extensively with various clients to understand their needs and find alternative solutions for suppressing weeds.
‘One of the things we have been trialling is acetic acid, as well as mechanical means such as using our road sweepers more,’ he said.
‘The tricky thing is that there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution, which is why we are engaging with all clients to see which approach would best suit their needs.’
States Works is committed to working for the best interests of the public, so while the annual report revealed that revenues in 2019 were up by more than 10% to £17.1m., efforts are concentrated on ensuring that the public benefits from the services.
‘We have just conducted a benchmark efficiency review which has identified a number of opportunities for us to improve our services and savings further,’ Mr Lickley said.
‘As well, we have finished developing a business plan which will see a significant transformation of the services – noticeably in technological developments for staff.
‘All in all there are exciting times ahead at States Works.’
More details on the review and plan will be released to the media in due course.
'We would like to deliver MOT-style testing'
STATES WORKS wants to be involved in the introduction of an MOT-style scheme, but the ball is in Environment & Infrastructure’s court at the moment.
General manager of States Works Paul Lickley was keen for the service to contribute.
‘We do not yet know what level of involvement States Works could play, but we want to gear up to deliver MOTs at whatever level is deemed appropriate,’ he said.
More decisive actions and specific preparations would need to be assessed once E&I releases the tender for the services.
It was revealed recently that the introduction of MOT-style tests has been pushed back by at least six months because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
E&I had put together draft tender documents for the service in March, but said that progress was thwarted by the impact of the pandemic.
Mr Lickley was keen to see how the service would be delivered.
‘Whether it’s garages with an MOT accreditation that States Works could act as, or if States Works was a larger provider of that service, we are keen to try to adapt to whatever is deemed most appropriate,’ he said.
‘If they wanted a service to deliver on everything, that would be quite an undertaking, or there could be a number of players coming together to deliver the whole remit [for both commercial and private vehicles], and we need to figure out what part States Works can provide in that.’