Posted: Tue 31st Jan 2023
A £1m competition to fund projects that help more self-employed individuals and employees at small businesses access occupational health (OH) has been launched by the government.
The fund from the Joint Work and Health Unit, an initiative by the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Health and Social Care, will provide up to £100,000 to ideas that boost access to health and welfare services at work.
The government said large employers usually have extensive access to OH services, but small businesses and the self-employed often lack support for people with health needs which can potentially lead to more people becoming economically inactive.
Applicants to the fund, delivered in conjunction with Innovate UK, are encouraged to show how they would improve OH and produce better health outcomes by using technology such as artificial intelligence and data collection.
Tom Pursglove, minister for disabled people, health and work, said:
"Good occupational health within workplaces is vital in supporting our overall health and standard of living. We spend so much of our lives at work, and it is imperative that our employers can give us the support we need to maintain our physical and mental health. This in turn means we can give our best at work.
"Through the launch of our new £1m fund, I look forward to seeing innovative, workable solutions to help SMEs deliver the best for their employees, creating healthier, welfare-driven working environments that will ultimately drive growth and improve people's working lives."
Helen Whately, minister for care, added:
"This new £1m fund will help us find better ways to support the health of our workforce – especially looking at small businesses and the self-employed.
"Making sure people stay well enough to work is so important – it means a bigger workforce, boosted productivity, and better quality of living."
Eligible projects must start on 1 June 2023, end by 31 January 2024 and last up to eight months.
Project leaders can be an organisation of any size and work alone or with others from business, research organisations, research and technology organisations or the third sector as subcontractors.
The competition closes on 15 March 2023 at 11am. You can find full details here.