The significant events of the past few weeks really bring home what a challenging job our emergency services staff do on a daily basis and, how critical it is that we fulfil our obligation to look after the men and women who work so hard to keep our communities safe.
Oscar Kilo is an online resource designed to host the newly developed Blue Light Wellbeing Framework and bring together those who are responsible for the wellbeing of emergency services staff. Its mission is to provide resources that can be used to not only help shape wellbeing provision, but also to provoke debate and encourage collaboration and innovation.
The development of Oscar Kilo and the Blue Light Wellbeing Framework was initiated by Chief Constable Andy Rhodes of Lancashire Constabulary, who chairs the national Wellbeing and Engagement Police Working Group, to better understand and support the unique needs of the emergency services workforce.
The Blue Light Wellbeing Framework has been developed so it is ‘sector-specific’ and contains learning from across the emergency services, academia and Public Health England to provide organisations with a self-assessment tool that sets a new standard by addressing the unique challenges faced by our staff such as exposure to indecent imagery and post-traumatic stress.
Chief Constable Rhodes said, “Wellbeing is often just perceived as a ‘nice to have’ or an ‘add-on’ and not something that is, or should be, part of daily business. We need to get the message across to our staff that ‘it’s ok not to be ok’ and it’s up to leaders and line management to do this.
“We are at the early stages of what needs to be a massive culture shift, not only for leadership and management to get better at addressing the issues affecting their workforce, but also, in seeing a change in the way that staff perceive and consider their own physical, mental and social wellbeing.
“We hope that by providing a place where we can share learning, research, best practice and have meaningful discussion and debate that Oscar Kilo and the framework will help facilitate this cultural shift and support each organisation in their own endeavours to improve and enhance their wellbeing provision.
“We have a huge amount to do if we are to reassure our frontline that the service is committed to picking them up when they struggle with their mental and physical health and we now have a lot support from across the emergency services family to ensure this happens.”
Although initially to be rolled out and adopted by the police service, both the framework and Oscar Kilo have been designed so all emergency and essential services can adopt and share the same approach going forwards, cutting across traditional organisational boundaries and empower us all to collaborate and improve our most valued asset – our people.