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Published: 21 May 2020

Crown Prosecution Service – Winner 2020, Best for Mental Health and Wellbeing

Faced with significant funding cuts, increasingly complex and distressing cases and high levels of staff sickness absence, the Crown Prosecution Service launched a Wellbeing Strategy to specifically address employees’ mental health. 

All staff now undergo an annual health check which includes questions about mental health. In addition, anyone working on serious sexual or child abuse cases has a mandatory mental health assessment. 

All line managers must attend mental health awareness training and all staff undertake e-learning on mental health and stress awareness. 

The CPS has a dedicated Wellbeing Team and offers Mental Health First Aid. It also has a network of Wellbeing Champions who cascade information and are happy to talk about their experiences of mental health issues to help break down the taboo around the subject.  

Events are held to support national campaigns, such as Mental Health Awareness Week, while an intranet portal offers resources and tools to help employees build personal resilience.  

Flexible working patterns help employees maintain a healthy a work life balance and stay in work, or return to work in a supported way. 

This highly proactive approach, which doesn’t simply rely on employees asking for help, was something the judges singled out for praise. 

The strategy has enabled staff to maintain CPS performance across all key organisational measures, despite a 30% reduction in employee numbers and rise in the number of particularly complex cases they must deal with.  

The CPS has reduced its average number of working days lost to sickness each year from nine to seven. There has been a large increase in the proportion of staff who have not been off sick at all. 

Staff survey scores around satisfaction at work and feeling supported have all improved too.