Download eBook for Free

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 2.3 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.

Research Questions

  1. In which areas has WWC been particularly well-received?
  2. What is the potential impact of the WWC in various contexts?

There is strong and growing evidence that work and health and wellbeing are closely and strongly linked and need to be addressed together. In June 2014, Public Health England (PHE) published a set of national standards for workplace health for the first time — the Workplace Wellbeing Charter (WWC or Charter), which was developed with the charity Health@Work and Liverpool County Council and was based on their scheme and others from around the country.

The national standards aimed to introduce a level of coherence and consistency across the country to support local authorities that had different programmes, with their own standards and reporting requirements, or were planning to introduce them. The national standards provide a universal baseline for local areas to commission or provide their schemes against, harmonising the core of existing schemes and allowing other elements to be tailored to local needs and interests. The WWC is designed to provide employers with a systematic, evidence-based approach to workplace health improvement.

While the need for employers to act on workplace health and wellbeing is unequivocal and the practice of bringing together resources within a coherent approach is valid, there has been limited research into the impact of the WWC as a method. This study investigates the take-up and impact of the WWC, maps available data on the number of organisations accredited with the Charter across England and provides insights into a diverse range of organisations that have invested in the wellbeing of staff in their workplaces.

Key Findings

While the study identified a number of improvements in policies, infrastructure and the provision of wellbeing programmes by participating organisations — such as sickness absence, job satisfaction and staff morale — these changes could not be unambiguously attributed to the WWC accreditation and the wellbeing activities, in part due to lack of available information on outputs (the overall number of wellbeing events and initiatives) and outcomes (staff participation data). However, amongst other findings, the study identified a number of areas where the WWC contributed to making a positive difference to the accredited organisations and their staff:

  • The WWC provides organisations with an all-inclusive framework for identifying gaps and areas for improvements, while allowing them the flexibility to prioritise certain areas and pace changes according to their determination, resources and abilities.
  • The WWC inspires novel approaches to achieve sustainable results in times of austerity and limited resources. Seven organisations explicitly mentioned partnerships with local organisations that provided services free of charge, and all said that the main investment was time rather than money.
  • The WWC helps organisations capture results and realise how much they already do. It also demonstrates the benefits that organisations gain from wellbeing initiatives and encourages organisations to maximise the results.


  • To introduce a system to monitor the nationwide use of the WWC at the national level
  • To further develop reporting guidance and tools for the WWC accreditation
  • To create a toolbox to aid the accreditation application process
  • To simplify the accreditation process for micro and small organisations
  • To include examples of effective collaboration between accredited organisations and local providers in the said toolbox
  • To consider embedding the logic model approach in the WWC accreditation
  • For local providers: To continue working with organisations to build partnerships with local services and to facilitate the links with relevant institutions and organisations

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was was commissioned and funded by Public Health England (PHE) and conducted by RAND Europe.

This report is part of the RAND research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.