Wellbeing support for Dumfries and Galloway Council staff during cost of living crisis

Dumfries and Galloway Council is providing extra support to its workers who are facing health issues due to the cost of living crisis.

The local authority currently employs more than 6,000 people, and its health and wellbeing group has acknowledged the stress and mental strain that staff may experience as they try to make ends meet in these tough financial times.

The matter was discussed at the council’s audit, risk and scrutiny committee.

Annandale East and Eskdale councillor Archie Dryburgh asked for an update on what steps have been taken to look after the health and wellbeing of its staff.

The local authority employs more than 6,000 people

Stewart Clanachan, the council’s human resources manager, said: “We have – and always have done through Covid, before Covid, and after Covid – always had a really detailed programme about how we support our workforce and how we can support their families.

“That’s whether it’s physical, mental, or financial wellbeing.

"There was a very recent discussion with the strategic group around some of the financial wellbeing challenges that are particularly prevalent just now.

“We looked at what we can do as an employer to help our staff more than we currently do.

“Very good discussions. Clear actions about what we’re going to do in terms of providing support and linking in with agencies, and signposting staff.

“So, there’s a real focus on financial wellbeing at the moment and that’s one of the really good things about our group – that it can adapt to what is happening out there in our communities.”

Mr Clanachan added that the council also manages the Healthy Working Lives national programme, and that Scottish Government assessors had previously given the council a gold employer award for building a culture of wellbeing.

Councillor Dryburgh responded: “I’m pleased to see you’re doing quite a bit of work on the financial side of things.

"I think the cost of living crisis does have an effect on everyone’s health and wellbeing going forward.

“If you’re worrying about where the next lunch is going to come from, you’re going to affect the way you work as well.”