"The Achievement Program supports our Council to encourage healthier lifestyles for all our employees" – Melton City Council.
Councils are community leaders; helping build better communities. Therefore, it’s always great seeing councils promote health and wellbeing, and one council in outer west Melbourne is setting a great example.
Melton City Council joined the Achievement Program in 2015 to improve employees’ health awareness, improve current health and wellbeing initiatives and support healthier lifestyles through new activities.
The Council, employing over 700 people, incorporated the Achievement Program into its 2018–2021 Workplace Health and Wellbeing Strategy for guidance and evidence-based support on promoting workplace health and wellbeing.
The Council’s healthy focus has generated positive changes and is encouraging for other councils looking to improve health and wellbeing.
Melton City Council has received Victorian Government recognition for four of five Achievement Program Healthy Priority Areas, which include: Physical Activity, Healthy Eating, Mental Health and Wellbeing, and Smoking. With Alcohol and Other Drugs being the last health area, the Council is well on its way to achieving all Health Priority Areas.
As the Council strived to achieve the benchmarks for each Health Priority Area, healthy changes were made to the physical working environment, policies and practices, and health and wellbeing opportunities.
The Workplace Health and Wellbeing (WHWB) Reference Group was a key driver in delivering healthy changes, including:
- participation in Virgin Pulse’s Global Challenge, a worldwide initiative that inspires employees to keep active
- review and removal of vending machines in accordance with the Victorian Government’s Healthy Choices Guidelines and as per the Council’s Healthy Food and Drink Policy
- review of Smoke-Free Workplace Policy
- staff personal training and yoga sessions
- participation in community initiatives such as FebFast, Dry July and Movember
- offering free health assessments on site with an exercise physiologist
- offering mental health sessions on self-care strategies to build resilience.
The Achievement Program has helped Melton City Council create a healthier workplace. The inclusion of the program in the Council’s WHWB strategy has guided the implementation of evidence-based change.
Amanda Mizzi, cleaning operations and contracts officer, said: “I believe the Achievement Program has helped improve the health knowledge within the business and has enhanced our engagement and participation in the programs we have on offer”.
A message to all councils
Melton City Council’s message to other councils looking to improve health and wellbeing is to seek support and endorsement of the WHWB Strategy from the executive and then build a team of passionate employees willing to join a working group to implement the strategy.