A partnership project led by East Riding of Yorkshire Council – with Hull City, North East Lincolnshire and North Lincolnshire councils and the University of Hull – has been awarded continuous funding by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (DLUHC).

Phase 1 of the Future Work Design Programme, which won the Digital Impact category at last year’s LGC Awards and has already received funding for Phase 2, has now received £350,000 for a Phase 3 development of a risk management tool.

The monies are from the Local Digital Collaboration Unit (LDCU) continuous funding model at the DLUHC.

The five project partners plan to develop an innovative digital stress risk assessment tool which provides a structure for managers and their team members to jointly explore the nature and extent of stress risks, with the purpose of developing supportive manager/team member relationships.

A continuous funding award will mean that the project team can build on the findings and insights gained from phases 1 and 2.

Phase 1 developed a risk assessment tool that can be used at scale to provide insights into staff wellbeing. Phase 2 evaluated the benefits and risks of providing staff with a digital intervention tool that they can use for self-reflection as ways of working changed significantly due to the pandemic and have now become permanent.

Phase 3 aims to develop a digital tool to support managers so that they can have the conversations needed within the framework of the Health and Safety Executive’s stress risk Management Standards.

Through facilitating this process, it will improve staff/team member wellbeing and enable positive culture change, one conversation at a time.

All three phases should combine to offer a holistic package of interventions for organisations, managers and individuals, to maximise the potential of protecting staff wellbeing and supporting the effective development of new working practices which are sustainable, not only for the organisation but also the individual.

Councillor Jonathan Owen, leader of East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “We are delighted to receive this continuous funding from the LDCU as it gives us the opportunity to further develop this fantastic risk management tool with other local authorities within the country.

“We, along with other councils, have had to make necessary changes to adapt to the pandemic, such as a blended working approach, and it has been imperative that our staff receives the support they need. This is not only for their own wellbeing, but to guarantee that quality services continue to be delivered to our communities.

“It is always the responsibility of employers to support staff wellbeing, and with the digital tool this is a key step to achieving this.”

Mark Jones, director of regeneration at Hull City Council, said: “It’s great news that further funding has been awarded to continue this vital work to ensure the positive wellbeing of our employees, and employees right across the Humber. As changes to how people work continues, it is important we do all we can to support people.”

Councillor Robert Waltham MBE, leader of North Lincolnshire Council and chair of the Humber Leader’s Board, said: “I welcome this further funding from the Government, which shows a commitment to investing in the wellbeing of the people working hard to protect vulnerable people across the area.

“Not only is this important for the people out there working hard, but it ensures our resilience as an organisation and means we can keep delivering better outcomes for residents.”

A spokesperson for North East Lincolnshire Council said: “We’re delighted to continue to be part of the project team shaping and developing this tool, which ultimately could benefit hundreds of councils and individuals across the country.

“The last few years have seen an incredible shift in the way that we all work, so to have something that will assist in this important area of health and wellbeing will be a great help to many.”

Professor Fiona Earle, director of the Centre for Human Factors (CHF) at Lampada, University of Hull, said: “This project has provided us with a fantastic opportunity to build on our successful collaboration with our local authority partners.

“The work undertaken by the team so far has highlighted a need to provide managers with a tool and framework to address the real-world challenges facing local authority workers in our region. We look forward to continuing this exciting work.”