NHS Health Scotland
Outcome Indicators

2.2, 2.4, 2.5

Communication regarding available support and services to support individuals to return to work and/or remain in work and well

There is some evidence of an association between the intermediate outcomes in Logic model 2 (Knowledge and Awareness) and the activity of communication regarding available support and services for individuals.


Policy Note



Communication about the support and services available will improve knowledge and awareness among the working age population (this population includes employers, service provider staff etc). This will contribute to improved motivation (see section 7a for outline of limitations) for the health and work agenda and behaviour change among individuals, and key stakeholders in workplaces. Increased awareness of support and services among all stakeholders will contribute to increased engagement of and behaviour change among key players and service provider staff supporting individuals and workplaces across the whole system for health, work and wellbeing (including short and intermediate outcomes set out in Logic Model 3, Infrastructure and Support).

For individuals who are currently not working (sickness absence or out of work) for health reasons, there is a logical progression in ensuring that there is a well defined pathway linking health with employability services to enable the individual to move as smoothly and seamlessly as possible through the necessary services towards work (Scottish Government, 2009). Links to the Workforce Plus agenda in Scotland will be key.

There is review level evidence that vocational rehabilitation is more effective if all players recognise their roles in the return to work process, take responsibility and play their parts when appropriate, although implementing this can be difficult; that improved communication between all players leads

to faster return to work and less sickness absence overall, and is cost-effective; and that the duration of sickness absence is significantly reduced by contact between healthcare provider and the workplace.3 There is some evidence that the duration of sickness absence is significantly reduced by early and sustained contact between the employer and absent workers.[3]

Informed by reviews of effectiveness evidence, NICE public health guidance 06 Behaviour change at population, community and individual levels sets out a set of generic principles and recommended actions to guide the planning and delivery and evaluation of public health activities to change health related behaviour at the individual, community or population level.[1] This includes use of services and support, and the role of service delivery staff. The NHS Health Scotland Commentary on this public health guidance supported these action points subject, where appropriate, to adaptation to fit Scottish organisational arrangements.[2]

Scottish policy note:
Health Works strategy sets out a commitment to developing the ‘Scottish Offer’ which will respond to the needs of those with a health barrier to entering work, or those who are in employment with a health condition that may compromise their ability to continue in work, by setting out what health services should be expected, standards that they should be delivered to, how they can be accessed and the links to wider services such as employability (p21). The Scottish Government will work together with Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), NHS Scotland and Jobcentre Plus in Scotland to develop the offer.


  1. NICE (2007). NICE public health guidance 06 Behaviour change at population, community and individual levels. NICE: London.

  2. NHS Health Scotland (2007). Health Scotland Commentary on NICE Public Health Guidance: Behaviour change at population, community and individual levels. NHS Health Scotland: Edinburgh.

  3. Waddell G, Burton AK, Kendall N (2008). Vocational Rehabilitation: What works, for whom, and when? A report for the Vocational Rehabilitation Task Group. The Stationary Office: London.