Government’s Responsibility Deal fails to capture business support

The Responsibility Deal was introduced by Downing Street to gain pledges of support from business for the introduction of initiatives designed to tackle problems such as obesity.

But the study, commissioned by PMI Health Group, revealed 77 per cent of firms are not even aware of the scheme, which this month reaches its two-year anniversary.

“The Responsiblity Deal appears to have struggled so far in its aim to make business take greater responsibility for public health,” said PMI Health Group Director Mike Blake.

“Often cost can be a prohibitive factor in encouraging companies to implement schemes to improve the wellbeing of staff, particularly at times of economic hardship but that doesn’t have to be the case.

“Regular health check and wellbeing schemes can help to improve employee health and reduce sickness absence. These need not be costly as frequently, quite sophisticated, health risk assessment tools are included in cash plans, EAPs and medical insurance schemes.”

Of the core actions outlined in the Responsibility Deal, walk or cycle-to-work schemes proved the most popular, with 52 per cent of those surveyed planning to introduce them in the future.

There was also willingness to introduce support for long-term, chronic conditions among 36 per cent of businesses, while smoking cessation support (33 per cent), Occupational Health services (26 per cent) and health checks (20 per cent) also proved popular.

Twenty per cent of respondents are not planning to take any action.