Written evidence submitted by Boundless by CSMA (WBR0105)
Inquiry into Workforce Burnout and Resilience in the NHS and Social Care
Boundless is a club which was founded in 1923 as a not-for-profit organisation that provides public-sector workers with a wide variety of leisure, recreational and holiday opportunities. It has a membership of nearly 200,000 and is open to past and present members of the UK Civil Service, the Armed Forces and public-sector organisations that were formerly part of the Civil Service. Relatives of existing members may also join.
Boundless is a mutual organisation and was founded as the Civil Service Motoring Association by Frank Vernon Edwards, an executive officer of the former Ministry of Labour who had an interest in motorcycle trials. CSMA was originally a small motorsport organisation of around 300 members but, by 1930, the membership was over 5000.
Supporting Public-Sector Workers
Originally concentrating on the sporting and leisure activities associated with motoring, Boundless has developed into primarily a provider of membership benefits in the areas of motoring, lifestyle and leisure. Today, its member benefits include discounts on insurance, shopping, holidays, attraction tickets, cinema, travel, leisure and roadside rescue, providing these through relationships with approved partners, notably LV= Insurance, with which it has worked since 1923.
Members of the club also have access to a range of volunteer-run clubs and groups providing hundreds of different activities to suit a variety of hobbies and interests. It also provides access to exclusive national events run purely for the benefit of its members. All of these may be accessed and enjoyed by the organisation’s membership.
Championing Public Service Day
For the last two years, Boundless have been encouraging the public to show their appreciation for public service workers, by supporting Public Service Day. The day, officially launched by the United Nations as long ago as 2003, has barely been recognised in the UK so far and falls on 23 June. Boundless wants to bring the UK together annually to celebrate the contribution made to society by millions of public service workers, from nurses to teachers, firefighters to administrators and police officers to care workers. This year, with the pandemic, Boundless asked the public to do more than just say thank you, and the response was felt nationwide.
Donating to Public-Sector Charities
Set up in 2016, the Boundless Foundation raises money for worthy causes, by fundraising internally and by members playing a weekly lottery. As part of the celebration of Public Service Day, Boundless have donated £15,000 to public-sector charities, who are there to help the police force, nurses, teachers, firefighters and civil servants daily as well as donating over £60,000 to other causes such as Mind and Independent Age. With the current pandemic, their services are being used more frequently and by donating, Boundless can support their vital work.
COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic
Across 2020, Boundless has remained on the side of public sector workers during an incredibly difficult time. As well as championing Public Service Day Boundless has also provided support through wellbeing content, resources and free offers. During May and June, Boundless provided £100,000 worth of movie streaming vouchers, in conjunction with CHILI Movies, a Boundless partner, to help public-sector workers relax and we also released 15,000 free Boundless memberships as a thank you to the NHS. This was extremely well received across the sector.
Response to the inquiry.
Prior to Public Service day on June 23rd this year Boundless conducted a nationwide survey of public sector workers and we feel the response may be of interest and use to the members of this enquiry into workforce burnout and resilience. Although the results cover a wide range of Public sector workers the NHS and Social care workforce sector were covered in the survey.
Attached to our submission is a power point presentation with the research results for the survey conducted on the public sector workforce. The below questions were asked to 2000 people across the nation.
1. When were you last thanked by a member of the public for doing your current job?
2. Do you feel appreciated enough by the public?
3. Which do you think are the most underappreciated public sector jobs?
4. What, if anything, would make you happier in your job?
5. How would you describe your feelings towards your job?
6. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement? I am proud when I tell others that I am part of the public sector / civil service
7. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement? I feel a strong personal connection with other people working in the public sector / civil service
8. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Public sector/civil service workers are less valued by society than they were ten years ago
9. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement? My job allows me to give something back to society
10.When thinking about working overtime in current times, which, if any, of the below statements are true?
Notably on slides 15/16 are the responses to these questions which show NHS staff and care workers are up there as the most underappreciated public sector workers.
Now more than ever we need to raise awareness of those struggling in the workplace and dedicated support networks should be put in place. Allowing NHS workers to have a better work/life balance with more incentives - especially given current working conditions - could help to tackle stress and burnout. See responses to Question 10. ‘When thinking about working overtime in current times, which, if any, of the below statements are true?’
Looking at our data we can see the way in which stress and burnout can manifest – not spending time with family, less time for oneself, impacts on mental health etc. The causes and contributing factors of not being able to do these things has an ongoing impact on an individual. Strengthening the workforce through support - particularly for mental health and wellbeing - within an NHS department or Care Team will increase productivity.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has seen levels of workforce stress, and burnout across the NHS and social care sectors rise and as a result of this Boundless has begun developing a suite of support services for public sector and civil service workers to help them navigate current working arrangements and situations. The mental health and wellbeing of public sector workers has never been so important and being able to implement plans to protect this in the future is paramount.
Providing funding and support to the NHS and social care is essential for future health of this sector and the Boundless Foundation has been able to donate tens of thousands of pounds to charities related to public sector workers. Building future resilience especially in helping with mental health and wellbeing in the workplace is key.