Decision details

Procurement of Occupational Health (OH), Counselling and Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)

Decision Maker: Director: Resources

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No


The current OH contract will be ending in June 2021. We currently pay ad hoc for counselling services with Harmony, this arrangement also comes to an end in June 2021. In addition we have been using Vivup for EAP and benefits on a trial which has been extended until June 2021. On 1 July 2021 we will be going live with a new provider(s). The tender process begins on 1 February 2021.


As part of our service offering to ensure a high performing and healthy workforce, the Council offers an Occupational Health (OH) service as well as an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) including one-to-one counselling and self-help guidance and support to employees. 


In order to continue to support staff at Bracknell Forest Council and in schools with their wellbeing and attendance at work, there is a need to re-procure a full employee health and welfare service.  Current arrangements finish at end of June 2021, and re-procurement will ensure the services remains within existing budget and with minimum disruption at transition.

Reasons for the decision:

The Occupational Health service is a key component of the managing sickness absence policy, which keeps employee’s sickness absence to a minimum and facilitates early return to work.  It also ensures that the Council meets certain statutory requirements.  Counselling is an effective way for staff to receive one-to-one support. 

Alternative options considered:

Frameworks were reviewed but none were suitable to cover both occupational health and the employee assistance programme requirements.  Other local authorities have arrangements in place and do not need to re-tender at this time.

Interests and Nature of Interests Declared:


Financial Impact: Within existing budget

Making Representations: In writing to the Director of Resources

Other reasons / organisations consulted

Survey to be sent to BFC staff around the 3 aspects of OH, counselling and EAP. Additional survey sent directly to schools around OH service. Feedback from staff and their needs will be built into the tender process. Discussion and feedback from unions.


All staff

Contact: Lisa Hippolyte, HR Business Partner - Transformation Email:

Publication date: 22/02/2021

Date of decision: 22/02/2021