Government Plans for Promoting Best Practice

The Government is also putting into place some key actions to support the development of work-life policies:

  • A new Work-Life Balance Challenge is being developed by the Government. £1.5 million has been earmarked for this purpose over the next two years. Successful applicants will receive consultancy advice and support from recognised experts in business efficiency, tailored to the needs and circumstances of their organisation. This will help them examine their working practices and business objectives, to decide whether different and flexible working patterns could both improve profitability and help employees to balance work and the rest of their lives better.

  • The Government will produce clear and concise information, advice and guidance materials for employers, written in plain English.

  • Information leaflets will be produced for employees and for people who are not currently in work, but who might be interested in entering or re-entering the labour market if they knew the full range of working arrangements that exist.

  • A major new baseline study has been commissioned by the Government to assess how far employers are adopting the principles in the statement of good practice. It will also assess the extent to which employees feel they have achieved the balance they seek between work and the rest of their lives. This research will both update and extend the evidence from the 1996 report ‘Family friendly working arrangements in Britain’. The Government expects to publish the results in Autumn 2000. The evidence from the baseline research will inform further activity and future research. It will also provide a gauge against which to measure the success of the campaign over time.

  • With Lloyds TSB, the Government is co-sponsoring the Parents at Work Employer of the Year awards. In addition, it has launched a Caring about Carers award scheme. This will enable recognition to be given to, among others, employers who have dealt sensitively with the needs of people caring for others who are sick, disabled, vulnerable or frail.