NHS Health Scotland
Outcome Indicators


2.7, 2.9, 2.10 Develop strong strategic leadership.


Developing strong strategic leadership within and across health, employability and other relevant service providers will contribute to the delivery of health services necessary to help people remain in or return to work.


Policy Note



Developing strong strategic leadership in service provider and partner organisations will improve knowledge and understanding of their own and others’ contributions to supporting health and work issues. This will contribute to increased commitment and motivation to support people to return to and/or remain in work and well, ensure strategic commitment to lead staff in this area and motivate them to provide support.

Limited highly processed evidence is currently available to support this rationale.

There is evidence that commitment and coordinated action from all the players is crucial for successful vocational rehabilitation: especially important is communication between healthcare professionals, employers and workers, which should be initiated at an early stage of absence.[1]

Although set within the context of organisational structures within the NHS in England, the Boorman review made a series of evidence-informed recommendations that highlighted the importance of strategic organisational leadership within the NHS for health, work and wellbeing agenda to support its own staff.[2]

Informed by reviews of effectiveness evidence, NICE public health guidance 19 Managing long-term sickness absence and incapacity for work sets out a set of generic principles and recommended actions to guide primary care services and employers.[3] This includes a recommendation that organisations commissioning services for individuals who are unemployed and claiming incapacity benefit or employment and support allowance should commission integrated programmes to help claimants enter or return to work (paid or unpaid).

Scottish policy note:

The Scottish Government outlines a commitment to developing strategic leadership for health, work and wellbeing in Health Works. The Scottish Government, COSLA and NHSScotland are working to develop a public sector mandate for Health Works for endorsement by Ministers and COSLA leaders. Territorial NHS Boards in Scotland are to work with local community planning partners to establish a clear agenda with assigned roles and leadership for health and work.


  1. 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.

  2. Boorman S (2009). NHS Health and Well-being. Final Report. London: Department of Health.

  3. NICE (2009). NICE public health guidance 19 Managing long-term sickness absence and incapacity for work. NICE: London.