The number of workers off sick at Staffordshire County Council has fallen to a record low, with 9,000 fewer days lost to illness in the past 12 months.
Bosses say it follows a new approach to managing staff absence and equates to 36 full-time employees or £540,000 worth of gained productivity.
The eight per cent reduction means that the county council’s absence rate – now at 7.68 days per employee – is the same as the private sector and below that for similar- sized organisations in the public sector.
The authority launched a new absence management process a year ago with communication and training for almost 1,000 managers, promoting greater “personal responsibility” for cutting absence.
Every tier of management now receives monthly absence reports highlighting problem areas where action is needed.
A pilot physiotherapy service was established for staff with musculoskeletal conditions, such as pain and stiffness in the joints and muscles, offering treatment to help staff get over any problems.
The new service, provided by Staffordshire firm CTC Physiotherapy, complements occupational health and staff counselling services already provided to enable staff to remain in work or return to the office quickly.
Ian Parry, cabinet member for finance and transformation, welcomed the results and insisted that staff were not being treated severely.