MacKay Hannah

Tackling Absenteeism in the Public Sector in Scotland: Prevention and Health Promotion

Thu 27th Mar 2014

, The Point Hotel (Conference Centre)

OVERVIEW View Conference Agenda

“Proactive workplace policies on health and wellbeing can deliver significant bottom line benefits, but this requires a commitment from employers and from business organisations to show leadership. There is also a challenge for the public sector. Employing almost a quarter of the working population of Scotland, the public sector can establish itself as an exemplar employer, leading the way in workplace practice, but also reaping the benefits of enhanced workplace health and wellbeing.”

Alex Salmond MSP, First Minister of Scotland, launch of healthy working lives strategy

Absenteeism is reported to be almost double in the public sector than it is the private sector in Scotland. Audit Scotland stated that in the past year, public sector absenteeism in Scotland has risen by 7% with sick pay estimated to cost millions of pounds each year. With an estimated spend in Scotland of £12.7 billion, staff costs are the largest cost for public bodies. Yet, with savings demanded across the public sector and close scrutiny of the public purse, there is an obvious benefit in tackling the rise in absenteeism.

Pro-active health promotion has clear remunerations. Health promotion in the workplace can have a positive effect on not only staff wellbeing and mental health, but the morale and efficiency of staff. Healthy workers have increased productivity. Stress, depression and mental health related absences can be reduced when a pre-emptive approach is taken. We have an ageing population and an ageing workforce in Scotland, which brings new challenges to effectively managing sick leave.

This conference will bring together a range of experts to discuss the core themes that affect absenteeism in the public Sector in Scotland.

  • How do you lower absenteeism? 
  • How do you create a healthy workforce? 
  • Can work place culture be challenged and changed? 
  • Can work-related stress and depression be reduced?


Angela Cullen

Assistant Director, Performance Audit and Best Value Group, Audit Scotland

Roddy Duncan

Directorate for Chief Medical Officer and Public Health, Scottish Government


Dave Watson Scottish Organiser, UNISON

Richard Forsyth Area Development Manager, Scotland, British Heart Foundation

Isabella Goldie Head of Scotland, Mental Health Foundation

Lynne Marr Partner, Brodies LLP

Jennifer Curran Programme Lead, Alcohol Focus Scotland

Fred Best Chair & Founder, Work 4 Wellbeing

Lynda Gauld Director, Baccus Consulting

Laura Peacock Key Relationship Manager, Investors in People Scotland

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Exceeded expectations. Very interesting and Informative - well done organisers. David Cameron was excellent. Informative, thought provoking and amusing. Excellent mix of topics. An excellent networking opportunity. Excellent - David Cameron was a hoot and really got the message across. Great range of diversity and experience. It was an ambitious programme but well directed. Donald Anderson was superb. It was great to hear from Fiona Carlisle at HMIE on the importance of the role.

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