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Public Services - letter from the Chair

Dear Group Member, 

A significant challenge for those working in health and safety across the public sector is how to address the issue of violence and aggression without restricting the very access public services require to support and deliver to our people. 

The recent tragedy where a Member of Parliament in the UK, Sir David Amess, was killed whilst meeting his constituents is just one example. Unfortunately there are no simple solutions to stop or restrict this. Access services are seen as remote, and out of touch, when they work closely with clients, customers, service users and others so the risk is incidents like this will, and do occur. 

In October we hosted a Webinar entitled Violence and Aggression an Organisational Approach. A recording of the session and the answers to some questions received at the session can be found at IOSH Webinar recordings | IOSH. We were really pleased with how the session went with over 280 individual attendees spanning across 15 different countries. I would like to again thank Nick James, HSE, Bill Fox, Maybo and Kim Sunley, Unison, for giving up their time to deliver the presentations. 

Whilst this webinar doesn’t provide the answers or a silver bullet to solve the problem it did however, outline that before any controls are put in place that a thorough risk assessment is undertaken, and that any controls are carefully thought through. 

This includes fully understanding the issues including why such incidents are occurring, who is being affected and most importantly involve your people in considering the causes and solutions. Failure to do so may actually increase the risks of incident and injury occurring. 

This is a theme that we will continue to return to over the next 12 months as we agreed at the last Public Service Committee meeting, held in October, that this would continue to be our priority area for the next 12 months. We are currently sourcing speakers for a number for sector specific webinars so if you have heard any good speakers, lead on specific projects that have made an impact, then please make contact by emailing networks@iosh.com as we are currently devising our upcoming programme. 

Further information is available on the IOSH website, Public Services Group pages here. 

That’s all for now, take care and stay safe 

Stuart Langston