West Lothian Council appoints FirstCare for absence management

West Lothian Council has appointed FirstCare to provide a nurse-led call centre absence management facility for 500 of its 8,500 permanent employees.

The council had previously piloted a nurse-led call centre approach to absence management and following the success of the pilot, which has shown a downward trend in sickness absence, the council was keen to adopt this approach on a more permanent basis, to improve both sickness absence rates and management information provided to managers.

Employees in the domiciliary care service and neighbourhood environmental teams will now call into a central call centre to report an absence, replacing the former paper-based system.

Chris Keenan, HR project manager for the West Lothian pilot, said: “These are two particular services with higher than average sickness and their employees work remotely, making a paper-based system more difficult to manage in terms of keeping information up-to-date. Reporting into a call centre allows real time data to be collated and reported to us as it happens, so that it is easier for us to plan and provide solutions.”