Health & NHS
Date of Pledge: 

About this pledge

Healthwatch Kingston is a small team of seven employees, eight board members and about 40 volunteers. We come from a range of backgrounds and an important part of our ethos is learning from each other’s experiences and understanding each other’s views.

We will build on this through our TTC Action Plan. Our small size is in many ways an asset, but we are aware that this creates challenges for monitoring our activity, such as small data sets and maintaining confidentiality. Like all other organisations we are currently working in a different way, but addressed this early with a clear plan for working at home and keeping in contact, in order to mitigate the anxiety caused by the pandemic.

Healthwatch Kingston upon Thames works closely with many organisations both in Kingston and elsewhere to give a voice to local residents, particularly people who are disadvantaged and/or hard to reach. As part of a successful Time To Change Hub, it is vital that we should set an example of good practice and sign up to the Time To Change Employer Pledge.

In relation to Core Standard 4 (Good working conditions) we are fortunate to be located in a green building, Kingston Quaker Centre, surrounded by trees and adjacent to green space. The team is small but ambitious in its goals - all staff have outward-facing roles and work with a range of organisations, so their skills are continually being tested and extended.

We recognise, however, that this stretch needs to part of a good work/life balance, so working hours are monitored and staff encouraged to take time off in lieu where necessary. Core Standard 5 (Effective people management) and Core Standard 6 (Monitoring mental health) The Chair and Chief Officer have a good working relationship and are approachable, and board members have regular contact with employees, jointly participating in project work. We recognise that juggling various priorities can be stressful and discuss this when we recruit staff; in addition, stress management workshops will be available. Monitoring will take place through the collation of relevant information from staff supervision and in an annual workshop with staff about mental health and wellbeing in the workplace to support the planned year- on-year review of our pledged to Mental Health and Wellbeing at Work policy, illustrating Core Standard 1 (Produce, implement and communicate the plan).

Core Standard 2 (Develop mental health awareness among employees) and Core Standard 3 (Encourage open conversations about mental health) The nature of our work gives Healthwatch Kingston a sound foundation, but we are not complacent and will explore this further with staff, through ongoing conversations. We will also draw on the experience gained from the Time to Change Kingston Hub.

Healthwatch Kingston is delighted to sign up to the Time to Change Employer Pledge and looks forward to implementing the plan, which builds on and systematises good practice we already undertake.

As a well-respected community health and social care champion organisation in Kingston, now in our seventh year of operation, we know the high value that is placed on having a workforce that is well engaged and committed to the task required of them. Good emotional wellbeing is the fundamental bedrock of effective teams and organisations. Because we aim to promote learning and an enabling environment for our community to become actively involved in commenting on the health and social care services it receives, it is essential for our staff team to be responsive, agile, resilient, challenging and focussed.

Making sure that team members are fit and well in every sense is critical to our central purpose. For these reasons we stand behind this pledge, and expect to be held to account by our staff, our commissioners and the public.