Wellbeing Services

Your wellbeing at work is crucial in helping you to achieve your full potential. To help you stay healthy and happy at work the University offers a wide range of benefits, services and facilities. 

Find out how to access our range of services. Are you looking for…?

 Advice, Listening and Support

Employee Advice, Listening and Support Services

What is it and who is it for?

The Employee Advice and Listening Service is support open to all University staff. Its aim is to help staff make informed decisions about work and personal issues. 

How does it work?

The service uses professional listening and, where appropriate, allows for further exploration of the issue, which may result in guidance and advice being given. Referrals to specialised services both internal and external to the University may be suggested but will not be made without consent of the staff member. 

How do I access the service? What happens when I do?

Upon contacting the service you will receive an initial listening and advice/guidance service from an Employee Adviser. The service works within a disclosure, confidentiality and data protection policy. Records made in regard to staff contact remain within the Employee Advice and Support Service and are not linked with any personnel files. You will be talked through the policy, and if you have any concerns as to where the policy allows for disclosure, or for confidentiality to be breached, please do not hesitate to contact the Employee Adviser.

We can see you at our offices, or negotiate to use other facilities within the University. The service operates from Monday to Thursday inclusive and we will acknowledge your initial enquiry as soon as possible.

Contact: Jean Harris, Employee Advisor, tel: 0121 415 8774 (x58774), j.harris.3@bham.ac.uk

Do you provide counselling?

Counselling is provided to University staff by Workplace Wellness, an external national provider.  Access to counselling is initially via a self-referral to the Advice & Listening Service, who will facilitate your referral to Workplace Wellness if appropriate.

Your first appointment with Workplace Wellness will be a telephone consultation when it will be agreed whether you are accepted for up to six sessions of counselling.  Once accepted for counselling you can arrange your appointments either close to your home or to the University, this will be within a 15 mile radius of the address chosen, directly with Workplace Wellness.

Telephone counselling can be made available if travel to the counselling venue is not possible for you.

I need advice outside of office hours, what do I do?

Workplace Wellness provides a 24/7 helpline for immediate emotional support, debt management services, general advice and information. The helpline access number is: 0800 1116 387 

I’ve been affected by Harassment, can you help?

The Harassment Advice Service is a completely confidential service where you can discuss your situation with a trained staff volunteer. The Advisers can listen to your problem, offer impartial advice and talk you through your options. Your union harassment representative can also provide advice and support. 

Who are these Advisers?

Harassment Advisers are from a variety of areas of the University, including the Guild of Students, Corporate Services and the Colleges, and represent a wide range of staffing levels and social groups. Harassment Advisers are here to assist any member of the University of Birmingham affected by Harassment including staff, students and visitors. 

How do I make an appointment?

Please contact the Employee Advice and Support Services by emailing harassment@contacts.bham.ac.uk or telephoning 0121 415 8774 (x58744). Please note that we operate a strict confidentiality policy and work in accordance with the University policy on Harassment and Bullying.

For more information visit the website.

Do you provide Citizens’ Advice?

A representative from Citizens Advice comes to the University every Wednesday morning. They can provide free, independent, impartial and confidential advice to any member of staff on an appointment-only basis. 

What advice do they give?

Citizens Advice can offer advice in the following areas: 

  • Benefits
  • Housing
  • Immigration
  • Debt
  • Relationships
  • Consumer issues
  • Employment
  • Retirement

How can I book an appointment?

Appointments can be booked by emailing citizensadvice@contacts.bham.ac.uk or by telephoning 0121 415 8774 (x58774)

 Further information can be found at www.citizensadvice.org.uk 

 Disability

Employee Disability Service

What is it and who is it for?

The Employee Disability Service provides disabled staff with practical support and guidance in the workplace, particularly in relation to workplace adjustments. The Service can support you through: 

  • General advice and guidance on disability in the workplace.
  • Advising on what ‘reasonable adjustments’ could be made to workplace practices to support you in your job (such as specialist equipment or changes to your duties).
  • Helping line managers understand your needs.
  • Support mental health needs.
  • Connect you with external support organisations and other in-house support provided by Employee Support Services. 

Who is defined as disabled?

There are many kinds of disability, some more widely understood and visible than others. Many of us who work at the University may have a disability that is covered by the Equality Act 2010 without even realising it.  

Legally, under the Act, a person is likely to be considered disabled if they have a mental or physical impairment that has an adverse effect on their ability to carry out day-to-day activities. This effect must be:

  • Substantial: in other words, not minor or trivial. The person is still considered disabled if the effects of their impairment are alleviated or removed by ongoing treatments or aids.
  • Long-term: this is usually taken to mean that it has lasted, or is likely to last, for more than 12 months. 

This definition is quite broad and can include people with cancer, cystic fibrosis, depression, dyslexia, HIV, repetitive strain injury (RSI) or a severe facial disfigurement. 

I have a disability – do I have to tell the University?

It is up to you whether or not you tell the University that you are disabled. However, the University is working hard to create an environment in which staff are happy to disclose their disability. 

Telling us that you are disabled is particularly important if you might need any adjustments to carry out your job. It will be very difficult, and in many cases impossible, for the University to provide these if you do not tell us. In addition, telling us can also help the University to improve the way it works with disabled staff – for example this information can help us to assess the impact of University practices on disabled staff. 

What can the University do to assist me?

To ensure that those who are disabled have equal opportunities to non-disabled staff members, the University must make 'reasonable adjustments' for disabled employees. 'Adjustment' is the legal term for any adaptation made in the workplace to ensure equal access for a disabled person. 

The Equality Act defines 'reasonable adjustments' as adjustments to:

  • Provisions, criteria or practices (the way things are done)
  • Physical features (the built environment)
  • Auxiliary aids (providing specialist equipment or services)

The most common types of adjustment include:

  • the services of a support worker (for example, a personal assistant or sign-language interpreter)
  • equipment (for example, assistive computer software or an adjustable height desk)
  • transcription of written materials into accessible formats (for example braille or large print)
  • adjustments to workplaces or the physical environment
  • adjustments to an employee's duties, working routine or conditions of service or the provision of disability leave

'Reasonable' is difficult to define here, but it is important to remember that all adjustments must be aimed at addressing particular barriers you face, and that you have a right to be fully involved in any discussions about adjustments. Clearly not all potential adjustments would be reasonable to make, but if a request or suggestion that you make is not accepted, you should be given a clear explanation of why it was not reasonable. 

How can I be mentally healthy at work?

We have produced a document on Mental Wellbeing at Work, which raises awareness of mental health problems and provides guidance for staff (including managers) about creating a mentally healthy workplace: please click here to view it

Mind, the mental health charity, have produced a fantastic resource on this topic: please click here to view it 

I’m not sure if I’m disabled..?

If you would like an informal discussion with someone who can offer guidance and answer any questions you may have, please contact us. 

How do I contact you?

Angela Breen, the Employee Disability Advisor, works Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. You can telephone 0121 415 8799 (x58799) or email a.m.breen@bham.ac.uk 

Everything discussed with the Employee Disability Advisor will remain confidential. 

 Mediation

What is the University Mediation Service?

The University Mediation Service can help you to work through workplace conflict and disagreement through coaching, mediation, facilitation and other communicative processes.

The University of Birmingham has a team of nationally accredited, neutral mediators who can help people or groups in disputes to work towards a sustainable, future orientated agreement that will allow them to work in a positive environment.

What is mediation?

When there is conflict, a neutral third-party mediator can facilitate communication between those involved, help to examine what has gone wrong and isolate the issues. 

 Mediation is a future-focused process. The aim is to help all involved come together to find a mutually beneficial, working agreement for the future. Benefits of mediation may include:

  • Encouraging parties to deal with the conflict and ensures difficult issues are brought to the surface
  • Helping all parties to see the conflict from a different perspective
  • Reaching agreements through mediation that are more sustainable as they are devised by those involved
  • Helping to avoid grievances and investigations
  • Saving time for all involved
  • Minimising cost (both emotional for the individuals and monetary for the University)
  • Focusing on the relationship between the parties
  • Allowing individuals to personally "own" a conflict and its solution
  • Minimising the risk to the University and the College or School 

Who mediates?

The University has a panel of trained mediators; typically, mediations are done with two panel members. 

Mediation may be outsourced to an external professional mediator when the conflict is:

  • Historical
  • Extremely complicated
  • Has implications of risk
  • Between senior colleagues 

When does mediation work best?

Mediation works best when: 

  • It is done early
  • It is voluntary
  • Both parties have a vested interest in improving their relationship for the future
  • Parties can take some responsibility for their actions
  • Individuals are ready to listen to their colleague’s point of view
  • Parties can attempt to see the conflict from their colleague’s alternative perspective 

What will the outcome be?

Potential outcomes of mediation include: 

  • Better understanding of each other’s position
  • Written agreement
  • Verbal agreement
  • Letters to others involved
  • Recognition of wrongdoing 

Is the service confidential and impartial?

Issues discussed with the mediator during the mediation process are confidential. However, outcomes achieved are reported to the referrer or relevant parties. 

Mediators are a neutral, third party. Their role is not to provide solutions or outcomes, but enable the parties involved to go through a communicative process to resolve the conflict in a way that suits both of their needs. 

How can I contact you?

If you are interested in using the mediation service, or want to find out more, please email mediation@contacts.bham.ac.uk or telephone 0121 415 8774 (x58774)

 Occupational Health Referrals

Management Referral to Occupational Health 

What is a Management Referral?

It is a referral to Occupational Health completed by your line manager. The role of Occupational Health is to advise the University and yourself by preparing a report for your manager on how your health may affect you at work. Examples of this may include: long-standing illness; return to work after sickness; level of attendance; or a combination of factors. The whole process is conducted via the HR Service Portal. 

How do I get one?

Your first port of call should be to speak to your line manager if you have a health condition that may be affecting your work. They will then be able to decide whether to refer you to Occupational Health, explaining their reasoning. Should they refer you, they will go direct to the HR Service Portal to start the ball rolling. 

If you are due to return to work after sickness absence there is not usually a requirement for you to attend an appointment with Occupational Health.  Adjustments to assist your return such as altered hours or duties can be discussed and agreed with your Line Manager in the first instance - your GP may already have indicated these on your fit note. 

What happens next?

If the referral is accepted you will have a confidential one-to-one appointment with an Occupational Health Clinician. The information that has been provided about your situation and the questions that have been posed to Occupational Health will be discussed with you. 

The Occupational Health Clinician will ask you some questions so that they can gain further information from you about your health.  This information will enable them to form an opinion on the questions that are being asked. If appropriate you may be provided with healthcare or lifestyle advice as part of the referral process.  In some cases you may be asked to consent for a report to be requested from your General Practitioner or treating Specialist under the Access to Medical Reports Act (1988) for information to assist the clinician in answering the questions posed. 

At the end of the consultation you will be provided with an outline of the report that the Clinician will write.  At this point your consent to release the report will be sought.  You have the option to receive a copy or to see the report prior to its release to the University, for the purpose of ensuring that the report is factually accurate. 

Students

Undergraduates 

Undergraduate Occupational Health services for Medicine, Dentistry, Physiotherapy, Pharmacy and Nursing are provided by the Occupational Health Hub at the Old Queen Elizabeth Hospital, accessible by visiting http://www.uhb.nhs.uk or by telephoning 0121 371 7170

Student Support (Counselling, Wellbeing, Disability, Mental Health or Learning Support) is accessed by visiting http://www.studenthelp.bham.ac.uk/ or by telephoning 0121 414 5130 

Postgraduates

Postgraduate Occupational Health services for Dip MSc Exercise & Sports Medicine, MSc Advanced Manipulative Physiotherapy, MSc Physio (Pre-Reg) F/T, PGDip Advanced Manipulative Phsyiotherapy, and PGDip Physician Associate (January and May intakes) are provided by the Occupational Health Hub at the Old Queen Elizabeth Hospital, accessible by visiting http://www.uhb.nhs.uk or by telephoning 0121 371 7170

 Health Clearance

Health Clearance & Surveillance 

What services do you provide?

We offer a range of services for University staff, not limited to: vaccinations; health screenings for new starters and existing staff; health surveillance and pre-exposure screening. 

Okay, I need one of those – what do I do?

Your supervisor, line manager or health and safety co-ordinator needs to submit a commissioning form to us requesting the agreed service. You may also need to submit supplementary paperwork before you come and see us – for example, previous medical history. 

What happens next?

Once we have processed your paperwork, you will be called for an appointment to see one of our clinicians. You will be given details of anything you need to bring with you, or if you need more than one appointment. Any requisite paperwork will be distributed to the relevant person on completion of the service. 

 Travel

I’m travelling abroad on University business, do I need a vaccination?

It depends where you’re going! Your line manager needs to get in touch so that we can send them a commissioning form for our service and a pre-travel questionnaire. Once we receive the completed documents a clinician can advise you in more detail. 

How much notice do I need to give you?

We need at least 8 weeks’ notice: some courses of vaccinations are long and require multiple appointments. 

 FAQs

How do I contact you?

By telephoning us on 0121 414 5116 (x45116) or by emailing occupationalhealth@contacts.bham.ac.uk 

How can I be mentally healthy at work?

We have produced a document on Mental Wellbeing at Work, which raises awareness of mental health problems and provides guidance for staff (including managers) about creating a mentally healthy workplace: please click here to view it

Mind, the mental health charity, have produced a fantastic resource on this topic: please click here to view it 

Do you replace my GP’s services?

We do not offer the services of a traditional GP practice. If you have an immediate health issue you should contact your family doctor as normal or telephone 111 for the NHS non-emergency line. 

I’m pregnant, or thinking about trying, what do I need to do?

By clicking here you can access the University’s pregnancy and maternity guidance page; it includes Health and Safety advice for New and Expectant Mothers at Work, as well as a risk assessment that is filled out in conjunction with your line manager.  Should there still be concerns regarding work exposure hazards (i.e. lab work), you can self-refer by contacting us directly. 

Do you offer any training courses?

Workplace Wellbeing offers training courses in various areas, all of which are contained in the People and Organisational Development brochure: please click here to view it

Can you help with my workstation?

By clicking here you can access the University’s comprehensive resource regarding Display Screen Equipment, including details of how to find your local trained assessor.

Can I retire on the grounds of ill health?

If you would like advice regarding this, please contact us directly. 

Is your service confidential?

All communications with us are in strictest medical confidence. All records are stored in accordance with the Data Protection Act. 

Is there a wellbeing committee?

There is a Wellbeing Advisory Group which meets termly to discuss policies and services that contributes to Workplace Wellbeing.  The group is made up of academics, managers, trade union reps and members of the Workplace Wellbeing team.