Enhanced and advanced occupational health standards

The occupational health enhanced and advanced standards are part of the next stage of a suite of measures, designed by the National Police Wellbeing Service (NPWS), to promote and support wellbeing at work.

Introduction to the enhanced and advanced standards

The enhanced and advanced occupational health standards build on the existing foundation occupational health standards launched in 2019. The enhanced standards are designed to enable forces to extend and add to what is being done already; whereas the advanced standards provide opportunities to do new things, transformative, innovative

Enhanced and advanced standards

The principles behind the development of standards which extend beyond foundation level are threefold:

  1. extending and adding
  2. opportunities to do something new
  3. visionary and transformative.

With foundation level standards in place, the two additional standards provide opportunities for occupational health (OH) services to develop their offering beyond the transactional, reactive services to proactivity and potential growth. It is expected that forces will move towards the enhanced standards (extending and adding) by 2025, and, at the same time, considering how they might move into new areas and ultimately visionary and transformative.

The ultimate aim is to have improved services that will support the Policing Vision 2025.

By 2025 forces should aim to have developed an OH workability programme that helps them to:

  • maximise job performance
  • optimise attendance management
  • optimise rehabilitation opportunities
  • minimise the number of people taking ill health retirement.

By doing the above forces will be compliant with regulatory frameworks, will benefit from effective and efficient  recruitment and retention processes and enhance reputation as good employers; as well as meeting the community needs to prevent harm, protect the vulnerable and reduce crime.

As forces achieve 100% compliance with the foundation standards  through their submission to the Blue light Wellbeing Framework, they should consider progression to these further standards.

Enhanced standard: Business probity

An OH department should be developing its services around the organisation and its people and demonstrating its benefits to the organisation.


An OH service* should have in place formal plans (a business plan) setting out its goals, how it plans to deliver, develop and attain those goals as well as a timeframe for doing so. Such business plans should include, or reference, the strategic plans of the organisation (including the force wellbeing strategy), and force mission statement. A business plan should demonstrate value to the force, continuous business improvement and what to expect as a service user, that is it should include OH performance measures (eg, KPIs).

Within the context of its business plan the OH service needs to demonstrate how OH will contribute to the performance of the organisation positively (benefits realisation*^), recognising that adding value to enhance performance is integral to organisations structure.

The OH service should set out how it will support managers in relation to workforce wellbeing. This can be through a number of mediums, for example ‘a managers’ dedicated OH advice line’. OH, support mediums should help managers in the force’s strategic aims at improving individual performance and supporting management in achieving their goals in developing a culture of allowing people to be their best at work.

Within the scope of its business plan, OH should demonstrate how its services can continue to provide benefit (health wise / cost benefit) within the force, it should also be able to articulate any unseen costs associated with service delivery, for example premises, plant, people.

Business plans should be able to stand up to scrutiny, as well as ‘look to future demands and service needs (horizon scan) articulating organisational or service risk. 


  • Evidence of efficient and effective functioning within the host force.
  • Evidence of continual service improvement reviews and plans.
  • Evidence of commercial and financial acumen.
  • Evidence of diverse stakeholder engagement.
  • Agreed and ratified strategies.
  • Business continuity.

Examples of evidence

  • A comprehensive service business plan^ ratified by senior leaders responsible for the strategic delivery of OH&W services to the host force which includes or links to the force health and wellbeing strategy.
  • Obtaining stakeholder feedback and responding to it.
  • Working with business support functions such as financial and commercial teams.
  • OH & wellbeing steering groups / boards.
  • A business plan should provide OH service performance indicators (dashboards).
  • Making realistic claims and committing to deliverables which are specific and achievable.
  • Published results from surveys, for example a health needs assessment(s) or other similar stakeholder engagement.
  • Service user / customer satisfaction outcomes.
  • OK template library. 

Enhanced standard: Information governance

An occupational health service should be developing processes and procedures to manage its data and information effectively in order to remain compliant with current legislation.


Where practicable, a service should utilise technological development to maximise systems efficiency and effectiveness, for example for electronic records and appointments management.

Robust and secure data management system and processes for controlling personal information to ensure GDPR compliance.

Paper health records should be transferred to secure electronic systems if not already done so, procuring of such systems may need to be part of the service future business planning.  


  • Policies and / or procedures (standard operating procedures) outlining records management, data access requests and GDPR compliance.
  • Policy detailing the storage and retention of patient (client) information. Policy and / or procedure detailing safely securing of records at end of working day i.e. “locking up” procedures.
  • Training procedures for new staff on process and policy.

Examples of evidence

  • Forces can access the Information and records management governance SoP from OK library.
  • Forces must ensure that their policy and procedure include details of the host force records retention policy as well as those in relation to national standards and practice.


The service should provide the organisation, and service users, with information activity and outcomes to assist in managing compliance and to help inform and protect the force and its people.  

Data to inform medium and long term planning and to inform factors such as resource planning.

Information management policy.


  • Forces can access the Information and records management governance SoP from OK library.
  • Forces must ensure that their policy and procedure include details of the host force records retention policy as well as those in relation to national standards and practice.


Examples of evidence

  • Monthly management reports / workforce performance reports include health surveillance reporting (for example).

Enhanced standard: Clinical governance

OH services should employ a tried and tested clinical governance framework and demonstrate a programme of continuous improvement approach to clinical practice. 


Services should employ the framework utilising the using a seven pillar model** of clinical governance which includes a quality assurance system setting out ‘what good looks like’ and how to maintain quality.

The service should ensure it keeps abreast of developments in clinical practice.


  • A local policy / standard operating procedure, detailing the application of a clinical governance model throughout the delivery of all clinical procedures and practice.
  • Information giving to service users on clinical services.
  • Reflecting the NPWS clinical governance framework in force CG documents (where applicable).
  • Information on services, what to expect and therapeutic interventions clearly detailed on dedicated OH&W intranet page and / or on patient information literature.


Examples of evidence

  • Policy / SOP.

  • OK library clinical governance template.

  • Evidence of audit around procedure and practice.

  • Evidence of training and, where necessary, refresher training of clinical staff.

  • Benchmarking clinical practice activity against other forces.

  • Published results from surveys, for example a health needs assessment(s) or other similar stakeholder engagement.
  • Service user / customer satisfaction outcomes.
  • OK template library. 


Enhanced standard: People

This standard covers occupational health teams.

Training and development

An OH service should be actively giving consideration to ensuring the development opportunities to all staff.

The service leadership team should be contributing to the future availability of OH staff and supporting the sustainability and development of the discipline.


A local career development strategy, linked to the force people strategy, setting out the department’s commitment to personal development including clinical and administrative roles.

This should include details of learning opportunities and placements for new joiners to OH including those from nursing, medical and allied health professional backgrounds.

The service should, where practicable, support formal education pathways for obtaining enhanced OH skills for clinical staff.  


  • Learning opportunities bespoke to the OH practitioner. These may be developed with the force learning and development team, locally or a through a professional body.
  • Knowledge / skills / outcomes defined and linked to personal development plans and appraisals.
  • Internal training packages and programmes set out for all roles as well as induction programmes for new starters.
  • Evidence of a student(s) on placement and registered with a HEI / undertaking professional study at a HEI.
  • Development of ‘other’ OH roles, such as OH technician / OH HCA, mental health nurses, physiotherapy, OT, encouraging agility and innovation.


Examples of evidence

  • Local OH people plan can be linked to or included in the OH business plan rather than a separate document.
  • Evidence of induction information for new staff.

  • Evidence of appraisal or PDP documentation.

  • Evidence of students on placement or the presence of existing staff undertaking further academic or professional study.

  • Evidence of training for technical or support staff.

  • Use of appropriate NCALT courses.

Wellbeing of Occupational Health teams

An OH service should promote and support the health and wellbeing of its own OH staff. 


The service should demonstrate an investment in wellbeing for its own people.

The service should be linking any force wide health and wellbeing strategic aims with those of the service and its people.


  • The service should evidence ways in which it aims to support its people through activities and or process.

  • The service should ensure OH staff have access to their own OH and EAP / counselling.


Examples of evidence

  • A local H&W plan or strategy (can be linked to OH business plan / contained within the OH business plan).

  • Internal H&W champion / lead / SPOC.

  • Evidence of team events and or away days.

  • Evidence of carrying out / participating in: Support and supervision, Schwartz Rounds^*, reflective practice and discussions.

  • De-briefs, clinical supervision and mentoring.

  • Access to OH* and EAP for OH.

  • *should not be same force – external SLA recommended.

  • Evidence that OH teams’ roles are risk assessed and health surveillance in place where needed. This includes psychological and physical risk.

Professional partnerships

An OH Service should be giving active consideration to developing collaborative and / or strategic external partnerships with other forces to further enhanced team support and wellbeing. 


Where practicable, and where agreed with force strategic leads, an OH service should look to work collaboratively and / or in partnership with neighbouring forces. This can be with formal arrangements in place, for example to utilise or share services, or for developmental opportunities and for benchmarking purposes.

Developing shared resources may assist with building resilience, developing peer review processes, shared CPD and revalidation support.


  • The OH service should evidence collaboration with neighbouring force OH departments or similar blue light OH services, for example fire and rescue.


Examples of evidence

  • Terms of reference of any working groups, meeting minutes and action logs.
  • Copies of any SLA or Memorandum or understanding (MoU) / formal procurement documentation (for example tender documents or service level agreements / contracts)

  • Forces statements of intent.

Enhanced standard: Relationship with the organisation (and it's people)

Assessing health needs


An OH service should be developing strategies to improve the health of the force (officers and staff), independently or in partnership with workforce / HR functions, undertaking a health needs assessment(s) as part of this work.

A health needs assessment is an integral, and systematic approach, to understanding the needs of a force, or a section of a force. A health needs assessment should help define and shape priorities for service delivery as well as address and reduce workplace health inequalities.  


  • A health needs assessment of a section or whole of a force designed to help inform the priorities and health inequalities of that working population.

  • The findings of the survey should be shown to contribute to the development of a health and wellbeing strategy of programme of activities at addressing workplace health needs.


Examples of evidence

  • OK template library health needs assessment information document.
  • Example of a health needs assessment or similar type survey, all or a section of a force.

Prevention and promotion

An OH service should support, and where appropriate, lead on pandemic planning and risk mitigation, to minimise the risk of harm to the organisation’s people.


As part of a wider strategic assessment of the force (or a section of the force) health needs, OH services should identify ways in which to help promote healthy habits in order to prevent ill-health. OH services should also outline their plans to prevent ill-health through prevention activities where relevant as well as health screening activities.

OH should use its position to participate in public health related activities to promote good general health.

OH should set out corporate plans (within the context of its health and wellbeing strategy) to define a programme of surveillance and screening for statutory activities and non-statutory activities. OH should ensure that these programmes link in / work with the force health, safety and risk management teams when undertaking this work.

Where a large scale public health crisis emerges, or a pandemic is declared (for example COVID-19), OH should become an integral part of the force strategic emergency preparedness teams in order to provide clinical and specialist advice in relation to risks associated with working with the identified disease.

Where and when appropriate, OH may be asked to lead on and / or participate in screening programmes or large scale vaccination programmes to reduce the spread of infection. OH may also be required to provide basic infection prevention, and where appropriate, control advice.


  • A health and wellbeing strategy which is health needs based and includes the core requirements for health screening and health surveillance activities which meet the organisations statutory requirements.
  • Examples of health promotion activities linked to the needs of the organisation which promote positive healthy activities such as healthy eating, smoking cessation and health promotion campaigns or activities which help reduce health inequalities particularly amongst vulnerable groups of the workforce.
  • Attendance at silver and / or gold planning or policy meetings.
  • Evidence of local standard operating procedures for dealing with pandemics / outbreaks.


Examples of evidence

  • Details of how programmes will be delivered and managed and how non-compliance will be reported should be included in the strategy or service business plan.
  • A force with an enhanced multi-disciplinary team could dedicated health care support staff to run health promotion and health awareness campaigns.
  • Evidence of force communications, promotion event.
  • Regular and sustainable use of Oscar Kilo wellbeing vans or other Oscar Kilo initiatives or those provided in house such as health check clinics.
  • See OK website.
  • Evidence of guidance or communications produced for the force.
  • Meeting minutes / agenda.
  • Planning documents for example testing or vaccine delivery.

Detection and rehabilitation

OH should set out its plans for early detection of occupational disease and its plans to mitigate against psychological and physical ill health.

The service should provide comprehensive support for the management of mental wellbeing which includes managing on going risk, in relation to high risk policing roles, and managing risk in relation to incidents.


As part of its assessment of the health needs of the organisation, OH should assist by identifying illnesses which would benefit from early detection and intervention. These should be included within the context of the H&W strategy.

Where ill health arises the service should have clear plans in place to support rehabilitation and recuperative practices.

The OH service should assist the force in supporting mental wellbeing by having an established risk assessment and psychological risk management programme with access to appropriate onward referral and follow up.

Where indicated, and as per local force plans, OH led post incident support following a major or critical incident+. The OH service should actively participate in organisation wide planning and take responsibility for people support at, (where practicable) and after, incidents.

OH should include suicide prevention and awareness material as part of their mental wellbeing strategic plans.

OH should include substance misuse prevention and awareness material as part of their mental wellbeing strategic plans.


Strategy document detailing:

  • Health checks, screening and surveillance activities. Early referral pathways for services such as physiotherapy and, where applicable, occupational therapy.
  • Psychological health screening and intervention where ill health is likely indicated.
  • Evidence of collaborative working with health, safety and risk management teams.
  • Evidence of a peer support programme (eg, ESTIP).
  • Clinical pathways, protocols and evaluations.
  • Evidence of participating in table top exercises with emergency planning teams or public order planning teams.
  • Evidence of education and awareness in regards to supporting positive mental health.
  • Evidence and or awareness in relation to preventing suicides.


Examples of evidence

  • Could be included in health and wellbeing strategy – set out strategic aims and include service design to mitigate and improve.
  • Evidence of a screening programme / PRM+* programme.
  • Major / critical or traumatic incident plans should be detailed in local format and included in force wide policy and planning documentation (disaster management).
  • Meeting minutes / agendas of planning meetings or attendance at exercises.
  • Force intranet pages with information about OH services as well as health and wellbeing information, signs and ‘symptoms’ / what to watch out for.
  • Talks to new recruits and induction material for new starters.
  • Example of a slide deck / training pack or intranet information.
  • Evidence of new starter documentation / induction material informing people about support and services.

Relationships with others

An OH service should demonstrates its working relationships with key stakeholders across the host force. 


In order to better understand the health needs of the population it services, an OH service should be visible, engaging and transparent.

The service should work with stakeholders which include, but are not limited to:

  • human resources / employee relations
  • staff associations
  • Federation reps
  • health, safety and risk management teams
  • inclusion and diversity teams
  • line managers

OH should work to build confidence and not rely on the intranet or other OH related literature to solely promote its services.


  • Evidence of engagement and involvement of support groups.
  • Examples of meetings and working groups where OH is involved.
  • Participation in or leading on committees or boards / groups such as health and wellbeing steering committee / group.
  • Attendance at meetings led by other disciplines as listed.


Examples of evidence

  • Meeting minutes / agendas.
  • Evidence of stakeholder engagement activities or weekly advice surgeries for example.

Advanced standard: An OH service collaborates in research and improved practice


Research improves clinical practice so an OH service should participate in research, or audit, which relates to health improvement in policing or that of other comparable blue light services.

Research may be led by a university, or other higher education institution, and the service may assist with allowing academics access to the workplace for study.

Research may be carried out by an individual, for example, nursing or medical staff as part of their academic studies.  


  • Published papers.

  • Demonstrates current programme of quantitative or qualitative enquiry within the force.

  • Audit survey and / or findings.

  • Demonstrate academic enquiry.

Advanced standard: The OH service has a senior representative responsible for developing the force health and wellbeing agenda


Depending on the OH service structure, a member of the OH SLT, participates in strategic organisational influence in relation to the design and implementation of health and wellbeing improvement.

This role has influence at / or participates in supporting silver and / or gold (executive level) groups within the force.

The post holder is a member of the wider HR or safety team or the overarching team responsible for people wellbeing and or safety and health within the host organisation.


  • Job description.

  • Structure chart.

  • Meeting minutes and / or agenda.

Advanced standard: The OH service develops tools to help managers and leaders support staff health and wellbeing


The OH service leads on creating wellbeing tools to assist managers and leaders prevent ill health, caused through work, amongst their people.

With prevention at the core of their models of delivery, OH contributes to promoting wellbeing to allow officers and staff the opportunity to articulate their health concerns and management the opportunity to participate in providing shared solutions to reduce them. 


  • Evidence of implementing management workplace wellbeing tools.
  • Evidence of making use of appraisal / PDP conversations to discuss health concerns / have wellbeing conversations, as standard force practice.
  • Evidence of making use of wellbeing action planning documentation.^^

Advanced standard: The OH service is sector leading


The service is sector leading in regards to innovation, design, service delivery, and impact on the organisation and acts as a role model to other forces.

The host force OH service has a robust health and wellbeing strategy which horizon scans (looks to the future) as well as sets out its ambitions’ for progress.

Service personnel support national developments as well as local force initiatives’. They work collaboratively with the NPWS and participate as a pilot site, as and when required, for innovation and improvements to health and wellbeing service delivery.

The service acts as a benchmark to other forces (or combined force and shared sector services) in a way that tests and proves OH innovation and / or research.

Service or programme enhancements are evaluated in partnership with stakeholders and service users jointly.


  • Evidence of achieving foundation and enhanced standards.
  • Evidence of participating in supporting national developments or leading on a national initiative.
  • Evidence of acting as a pilot site and trialling and evaluating service enhancements or evaluating new clinical practice.
  • Evidence of applying new research findings to enhanced practice and health improvements.

Advanced standard: The OH service contributes to the development of individuals in the sector through a dedicated development or leadership programme


The OH services recognises the importance of career development and succession planning.

The service provides clinical and administrative staff leadership and management training opportunities either through a force recognised leadership programme and / or in partnership with a HEI.

The service provides opportunity for leadership development through a structured programme of learning either through formal qualification or a blended approach of ‘hands on’ learning, mentoring and evaluation of practice. 

The service participates in career fairs or activities designed to promote clinical, or allied health care professionals, entering into the discipline of occupational health.

The service offers training opportunities to nursing and medical staff wanting to specialise in the discipline of occupational health.

The services offers placements to observers and learners from other industry.


  • Evidence of supporting further education such as an MA, MSc MBA or management diploma.
  • Evidence of selected members of staff enrolled on or enrolling on developmental programmes either internally constructed or part education institution designed.
  • Evidence of mentoring, evaluation and ‘acting up’ / temporary promotion for either clinical or administrative staff members.
  • Evidence of attending nursing, medical or allied health care professional job fairs. Evidence of working alongside professional bodies to promote occupational health as a career of choice.
  • Evidence of being a training site to nurses and / or doctors in training to specialise in occupational health or occupational medicine.

Notes and explanations

*OH services – OH services refers to in-house (force funded) as well as outsourced or blended models (part in-house and part outsourced). In instances where all, or part, OH services are delivered by outsourced providers business planning should take place collaboratively with those internally (force) responsible for OH provision as well as the clinical and operational leads from the outsourced agency.

^Business plan template – A business plan template will be located in the Oscar Kilo NPWS resource library, until this is completed please email us for a copy.

*^ Benefits realisation – Benefits realisation refers to a process or activity, or set of activities or processes which demonstrate to the host organisation, or if providing outsourced services, ‘the customer’, the benefits of procuring the OH services in achieving the organisations strategic and operational wellbeing aims. These may be quantitative, for example data sets, or qualitative, for example surveys.

** Seven pillars of clinical governance – A clinical governance framework developed for use in the NHS which includes: clinical effectiveness, risk management, patient / client involvement, audit, management of clinical (and administrative) staff, education, training and development, information giving.  The model provides a framework for delivering clinical care and advice. Refer to NPWS CG Framework

^*Schwartz Rounds – Schwartz Rounds are reflective practice forums, or meetings, which provide groups of staff, from various disciplines , an opportunity to reflect on the emotional aspects of their work and working in their clinical setting.

PRM+* - Psychological risk management – A programme where screening and health surveillance takes place at regular intervals for those considered at greater risk of psychological harm as a consequence of the role they undertake. Go to page 

+Major / critical post incident support – Incidents such as major or critical incidents’ will have own force interpretations’ and / or terminology. Major incidents’ are usually mass casualty, multi-agency incidents’. Critical incidents’ can occur to groups or to individuals. OH’s response in supporting the effects of large scale traumatic events will vary from force to force, however, it is recommended OH are utilised as a clinical support function where indicated. This may be through a direct response, for example formal diffusing and follow-up, ad / or in part, for example using the ESTIP model.

^^ Wellbeing action plan documents – Such documents are frameworks designed to help staff articulate to managers their specific personal health needs. Some organisations refer to these as “passports”. They can be used independently and / or in partnership with an individual appraisal (PDP). A good example of such a tool is the Mind Blue Light Wellness Action Plan. More information can be found at - www.mind.org.uk

Find out more

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