Blue Light Wellbeing Framework (BLWF)

Our sector-specific framework is a self-assessment tool that sets the wellbeing standard for the emergency services. It is only accessible for nominated individuals in each force.

If you are new to the BLWF, you can learn about it here. If you are already a BLWF owner for your organisation, we explain how to access and use the framework. 

At the end of this page, you will also find supportive documents including planning templates, and the GAIN model.

About the BLWF

The BLWF is an organisational tool from the College of Policing for use by a nominated ‘owner’ for your organisation.

It is mainly aimed at policing organisations but can be adopted on an informal basis by other emergency services.

The BLWF has now been adopted by all 43 Home Office police forces as well as 12 other non-Home Office forces and policing organisations. 33 fire and rescue services also use our framework.

  • If you wish to enquire whether your organisation is signed up to the wellbeing framework, please contact us.


If you are interested to learn more

You can read more about the framework in the guidance document and in the section below.

Online access

The framework is intended to be a supportive tool that organisations can use to suit their own needs. We have built the framework into the Oscar Kilo website to provide an online, interactive option which means that organisations can:

  • work through the framework at their own pace
  • monitor and track progress
  • add documents and evidence
  • revisit and refine whenever they need
  • easily add collaborators and share progress internally
  • request an online, distance peer review
Blue Light Wellbeing Framework progress on computer screen

Becoming a framework owner

To ensure that the completion of self-assessments is not duplicated within organisations, access to the online framework is available only to a named SPOC for an organisation.

They then ‘own’ the document for their organisation but they can easily assign others within their organisation to work with them on it.

  • If your organisation is not yet using the framework but you think it should, please contact us with your name, role, and contact details and we’ll get in touch to discuss your requirements.


Using the framework

Each of the areas of the framework are split out into different sections so you work through each area separately.

Your progress will update as you work through it and will give you a percentage completion figure so you can quickly and easily see where you’re up to.

This means that you can work through it at your own pace and check back in as often as you like.

Once you have filled in your framework and uploaded any relevant evidence and comments, you will then be able to click a button to request an online peer review – if you wish – although this is not mandatory.


How to access the framework

We’ve written to every framework owner with more details about accessing and using the framework – but we’ve also detailed the process here. 

If you are already a BLWF owner for your organisation, the content of the BLWF has not changed and we are working hard to migrate all existing information in your frameworks into the new website. 

All registered BLWF owners / users will also have been migrated over to the new site with your assigned framework. 

Your username will be the same, however, you will need to create a new password for your account when you login to the framework via the new website for the first time. 

This is quick and easy to do – just click on the login button at the top of the homepage and enter your username, you will then be prompted to re-set your password. 

You can then edit your profile and choose to add your name, organisation, and job title to your page. 

You will then have access to your BLWF from the blue drop-down menu under ‘My Account’. 

  • If you have any queries about access to your BLWF account, do not hesitate to contact us

Peer review

To avoid the associated costs that often come with outside accreditation, we have created the option for inter-force peer review, enabling forces to apply challenge and support in a very strengths-based approach that we feel is better suited to this area of practice.

In line with this, we have created a ‘Peer Review’ option that you can select once you have completed your framework online – this means you can submit your framework for an online, distance peer review by another force.

Peer reviews are carried out by a practitioner who is experienced and skilled in the area of wellbeing. Ideally, it will be a person with ownership of their own organisation’s framework so that they are familiar with the question sets and how it feels to lead this agenda.

The Oscar Kilo team will identify which forces are ideally suited to peer review each other taking into consideration a range of factors including workforce numbers.

When you arrange for a peer review, the Oscar Kilo team receives a notification, and we then make contact with you to progress the review. This includes providing you with a copy of our peer reviewer guidance document.

  • If you require any further information, please contact us.

More about the framework


The BLWF is a statement of intent, showing a commitment to health and wellbeing.

This version is the second iteration of the framework since its inception in 2017.

Organisations use this framework to audit and benchmark themselves against an independent set of standards, which have been tailored to meet the specialist needs of emergency services staff.

The BLWF will help to identify what an organisation already has in place and what gaps there may be in providing the best wellbeing provision it can for employees.

The aspects of the framework are based on widespread consultation with leading academics and professionals in the field, as well as practitioners at all levels.

The framework has always been intended as an up-to-date and ambitious guide for employers to self-assess against. This facilitates subsequent strategy and interventions that are based on evidence of need and improved outcomes.

Since the launch of the first edition of the BLWF and Oscar Kilo in 2017, the wellbeing landscape across policing has begun to see a positive shift.

We have seen an increase in investment into police welfare from the government, the introduction of the Common Goal for Police Wellbeing and the launch of the National Police Wellbeing Service (NPWS).

Over the past three years, we have also been able to learn from the information submitted by forces through the BLWF. This has provided us with a richer national picture of wellbeing provision. As a result, our understanding of the evidence base and ‘what works’ has deepened.

This has led to the publication of this version of the BLWF to ensure, in a spirit of continuous improvement, that it remains an up-to-date and relevant resource for organisations to use.

Supporting documents

Planning templates

These planning templates are a companion guide to the BLWF and have been designed to assist organisations to consider both at a strategic and tactical level.

In both the strategic and tactical planning, it is key to determine the goals of the actions taken and whilst these maybe quantitative or qualitative in nature it is recognised that they need to be tailored to what will work for your organisation.

Therefore, when evidencing the framework, it is noted that some flexibility will be required in the interpretation of the elements, and it is anticipated that the use of these planning templates will assist organisations to provide plans which utilise the framework whilst enabling local delivery options.

Through the assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation process organisations will be able to influence the overall wellbeing plan and maximise the impact and encourage long lasting changes and engagement in local areas.

General Analysis, Interventions and Needs (GAIN) Pyramid

The GAIN Pyramid

(Hesketh and Rhodes, 2015)

This is a strategic HR model that can assist organisations to develop practical categories and metrics to illustrate employee status in relation to wellbeing.

This model was developed in a policing environment to provide a simple illustration of where the workforce operated. It can also be adapted and used in any other organisation with considerable ease, the beauty being the simple nature of the notion of a snapshot in time of the workforce, and what is the status.

The levels of engagement aspect illustrates that although an employee may be struggling to cope, they may well be, and probably are, still engaged in the workplace. Here, phenomena such as Presenteeism and Leaveism can be observed by managers trained in the recognition of these features and can form the basis of early intervention to assist their workers.

What is seen in many organisations is that the trigger point for help sits in the above category ‘not engaged.’ This misses out on the opportunity for effective intervention.

This, in turn, would provide access to the services in the next column, which increase towards the top of the column, both in complexity and of course cost. Management options also increase in both complexity and ambiguity, and again these are costly in terms of time, money and abstractions from core duties.

A common response that emanates from discipline or management-action meetings is the issue of why the particular problem was not identified and dealt with at an early point in time. This issue once more provides management challenges, and it is suggested that inclusion in training schemes for even first-line or junior managers may prove fruitful.

The Universal segment of the pyramid represents the workforce (employees) being well, a fully engaged workforce that is effectively line-managed, what some may term business-as-usual. The three segments that follow, culminating in crisis, describe the gradual deterioration of an employee’s health, with a model of the inevitable consequences illustrated alongside. Pro-active interventions, such as resilience training and clinical supervision models, ought to be provided across the workforce, but may be prioritised on high-risk groups of employees. In terms of policing, these may include firearms, covert, public protection or counter-terrorism officers and staff. The model can be populated using available data, sourced from a number of origins.

The use of HRM information can provide a good starting point, but the use of data beyond sickness absence figures can also provide valuable insight. These may include items such as misconduct, overtime worked, expenses claims, workplace accidents and professional development review information. These all contribute to creating a rich picture of individual and group wellbeing, and the impact of those persons in the workplace, and specifically with their relationships with the co-workers.

One of the challenges for HR is essentially getting upstream of sickness absence. The suggestion here is that analysing multiple data sources and placing them in an easy-to read framework can help identify individuals who are in need of additional help. This proactive approach may well help organisations reduce sickness levels, but more importantly improves the environment in which they work, with better outcomes in terms of attitudes and perceptions. Workforce surveys, such as ASSET (Cooper et al., 2005), have identified that working relationships, communications, control and work-life balance are all important in the assessment of workforce wellbeing, but to rely solely on sickness figures alone to somehow illustrate this appears to be an immature approach considering what is available.

Published in Strategic HR Review, Vol. 16 Iss 1, pp.17 – 23