Health and work strategy: review report

The report from the review of the Scottish Government's health and work strategy.

4 Review Process


Two aims were established for the Review:

  • To review the Scottish Government's Health and Work Strategy, identifying gaps and making recommendations on where change is needed; and
  • To examine whether there are opportunities to invest further in the area of Health and Work creating a step change approach for the people of Scotland, especially in the digital area.

There were three project deliverables:

  • Consideration of current strategy and possible future development proposals.
    • Engage with relevant services and ensure the Advisory Board has an understanding of current provision by all providers across government;
    • Engage with all key stakeholders to ensure the Advisory Board has relevant feedback.
  • Take advice and insight from the Advisory Review Board, draw conclusions from the work undertaken, and draw up a list of options then make recommendations on the current strategy and any proposed new developments.
  • Create a final report in 2019 for Scottish Government to review.

The Review sought to engage with and seek evidence and advice from a wide range of stakeholders, including the current service providers, service users, Scottish Government and a wide range of other interested parties.

Joint Sponsorship

The Review was commissioned by the Scottish Government's Health Improvement Division. In recognition of the cross-cutting nature of the agenda, particularly in respect of Employability and Fair Work, a joint sponsorship approach was taken with the Directorate for Fair Work Employability and Skills.

Review Advisory Board

A broadly based Review Advisory Board comprising key stakeholders was to provide advice and insight on how the Health and Work agenda should be developed and on its positioning within a new public health landscape for Scotland. The Advisory Board considered evidence at its meetings from a range of contributors, including written submissions received in response to the Review questionnaire. The Advisory Board was chaired by Steve Bell of NHS Health Scotland, and Individual roles for each member of the Board were agreed to reflect their areas of expertise and the stakeholder group they represented. Membership of the Advisory Board is provided at Appendix I. Meetings of the Advisory Board were organised around the three themes agreed by the Board of: access to; availability of; and, return to; Fair and Healthy Work.

Literature Review

A brief review of the literature review was undertaken by the Knowledge Services Team of NHS Health Scotland, and a range of papers and reports published over the last ten years, and which are referenced throughout this report, were also considered.


Personas are fictional characters that are developed in conjunction with professionals who work a target group. The aim of using personas is to help you to empathise with another person, put yourselves in their shoes, and begin to think about what life is like from their perspective. This enables reflection on the design of what support and services the persona needs[24].

A series of Personas for employees and employers were developed for the three principal Review themes. These were based on evidence considered by the Advisory Board and by Board members with particular experience in that area. An example of a Persona that was used is attached at Appendix II.

Stakeholder Engagement

It was clear from the outset that, despite having an Advisory Board that was broad in nature and which brought together stakeholders who were not considered to be on the whole 'the usual suspects,' there was much wider interest in the Review and knowledge in the wider system that it was important to harness. Three further steps were therefore put in place to ensure the widest possible engagement within the scope and timescales allowed for the Review:

  • A review questionnaire was issued to all NHS Boards and Local Authorities together with a range of other relevant public agencies, third sector organisations and professional bodies.
  • Meetings were held with a variety of stakeholders, either as a follow-up to their questionnaire submissions, as well as with organisations who had not otherwise participated.
  • A summative Review Workshop was held in May 2019 – originally scheduled for March 2019 but delayed due to Brexit related issues – which attracted approximately 100 delegates from a range of stakeholder organisations (see Appendix III), which enabled participants to consider the Review recommendations, provide feedback and indicate prioritisation.

Report Format

The recommendations of the report are framed by the four broad policy themes (detailed in section 6) proposed by the Review. Each recommendation is accompanied by possible implementation actions alongside a summary of its rationale and supporting evidence. Consideration is also given to the target audience, stakeholders, cost, complexity and impact, though in practice these matters will be dependent upon the precise specification agreed for any work to be taken forward, and upon which further detailed work will be required involving appropriate stakeholders.



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