The Local Government Technical Advisers Group backed by the Department for Transport and the Local Government Roads Innovation Group is launching a Health and Wellbeing Survey in order to gain an understanding of how the highways sector has coped throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the sector employing almost a quarter of a million people, LGTAG says it is crucial that health and wellbeing is a top priority.
It says the industry has continued delivering services throughout COVID-19 to ensure the strategic and local road networks remain open meaning that crucial supplies of food, life-saving medicines, fuel and other goods can move around the country.
But, it warns, by continuing to work throughout the pandemic, key workers have reported significantly higher depression, anxiety, and stress compared to life before the pandemic. With men making up 80% of the workers in the transport sector and also being less likely to access psychological therapies than women, it is critical that we have support measures in place to help all who need it.
In a statement LGTAG said, “LGTAG’s main aim is to represent members interests which includes providing coordinated and comprehensive advice and support. With health and wellbeing effecting everyone in the industry it is key that we do our best to support not only those employed by local authorities but also those who work with local highway authorities. To ensure we represent the views of everyone in the sector, LGTAG are launching a Health and Wellbeing Survey to gain an understanding of how we as an industry have coped over the past 18 months from a personal perspective. This is often a difficult topic for people to discuss however this initiative has the support of our leaders in the industry who want to help and support.”
Matthew Eglinton, Head of Local Highways Maintenance, Innovation, and Resilience, Local Infrastructure, DfT commented, “I am pleased to support LGTAG’s sensible initiative to ascertain how highways colleagues have faced and dealt with the extra challenge that Covid-19 has placed upon our sector. Our teams and people, much like the networks they manage, need to be resilient and not overwhelmed – and to get a ‘temperature check’ will help generate solutions and demonstrate ‘what works’ for the sector. I am a keen advocate for good mental health and ease of access of supportive services, and would encourage filling in the Health and Wellbeing Questionnaire if you are willing to share your experiences.”
Will Britain, President of LCRIG, added: “The health and wellbeing of staff should always be a priority for councils and the supply chain who provide key highway services. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about a new set of challenges in this space and it is important to understand how people have felt throughout the pandemic. Could more have been done to support them, what’s been good and bad, and how can we take forward new ideas to ensure that the support which is needed is made available.
“I’d encourage everyone to take the time to complete this important survey so we can better understand the landscape and then drive forward change so that we ultimately have a happier, healthier and more productive workforce.”
Mahmood Siddiqi, President of LGTAG, commented: “A final word from me is to urge you all to take part in the wellbeing survey being run by LGTAG. We carried out a similar survey through LoTAG which revealed that two-thirds of colleagues were finding these to be particularly stressful times. In some ways we are the unsung heroes – we have managed to maintain business as usual while others have set up their workplace at home. Our health and wellbeing should be our highest priority. Thank you all and stay safe.”
Emily See, Vice Chair of LGTAG’s Highways & Infrastructure Management Board, remarked: “Our aim is to raise awareness for health and wellbeing in the sector and based on the results we will put together guidance and support for all organisations to use moving forward. This questionnaire will take no longer than 10 minutes, is completely anonymous and is open to anyone working in the highway sector.”
The questionnaire will be live until the 31 August 2021 and LGTAG will present results at the LCRIG Strictly Highways Event in October.
Take the survey here.
(Picture – LGTAG)