Students Staff
University of Essex

November 24, 2020

Alcohol, Drug and Substance Misuse Policy

Filed under: Advice & Support,People Management — Tags: — Victoria Beckwith @ 11:05 am

In November 2020, our revised Alcohol, Drug and Substance Misuse Policy (formally the Alcohol and Drug Policy) and Manager Guidance were approved by USG. You can find them both on our Staff Directory.

Below are some headline changes:

  • Change of policy name from Alcohol and Drugs Policy to Alcohol, Drugs and Substance Misuse Policy.
  • Support for staff with an alcohol/drug problem to seek help/advice at the earliest opportunity.
  • A strong focus on wellbeing recognising that resilience and mental health are not intrinsic to the individual but are influenced by the surrounding environment.
  • A recognition that there may be moments of transition in people’s lives when difficulties may be experienced.
  • A greater clarity on roles and responsibilities for staff, line managers, colleagues and the wider People & Culture team, and weblinks to both internal and external support services.
  • Manager Guidance to accompany the Policy focusing on supporting line managers to use personal judgement where appropriate to ensure support is compassionate and adaptive to individual situations.

Whilst many people enjoy drinking alcohol socially and in moderation, there is a recognition that alcohol, psychoactive drug and substance misuse contributes to health problems accidents at work, absenteeism, to inefficient working and, in extreme cases, social breakdown.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on working life –with many employees experiencing significant changes to their lives and work routines (e.g. home-working and furlough) – has heightened many of the wellbeing risk factors, such as increased emotional pressures and social isolation. It is vital that we create an environment where people feel able to ask for help and confident that they will be supported to get the help they need.

We are committed to creating an enabling environment at the University, in which all our members can thrive, and it is important that you take care of yourselves and look after your physical and emotional wellbeing. Our revised Policy aims to strengthen our commitment to providing a healthy and safe working environment for all.

Please contact your Employee Relations Adviser or Occupational Health if you have further questions about the support available.

You can also download the free Dry January app, which will help you to meet your goals, whether you want to take on Dry January, cut down your drinking, or go totally alcohol-free. You can use this app at any time to understand your drinking patterns.

November 9, 2020

Changes to Essential Training

Filed under: Advice & Support — Tags: — Mohammed Alam @ 3:39 pm

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to announce the launch of ‘How we work at Essex’ that will replace the existing suite of Essential Training for all employees. This has been developed to better reflect our values, reduce the workload required to complete Essential Training and to respond to feedback from colleagues. A new programme to replace the current suite of Essential Training for managers ‘Do you manage the Essex way?’ is also being developed for launch in March 21.

The termly Essential Training reports and Essential Training policy have been updated to reflect this new approach to Essential Training for all employees. The termly reports will be updated to reflect the new training and the new policy outlines a need for all employees to engage with annual refresher training. More information about these developments can be found below:

  1. How we work at Essex aims to extend the focus of Essential Training to include values-based decisions and behaviours in addition to ensuring that colleagues are aware of their statutory obligations, professional standards and legal requirements. It is anticipated that the course will take approximately 2-3 hours to complete with a short refresher for all staff expected every academic year. How we work at Essex will be launched on week commencing 23rd November with termly reports being sent in late January.
  2. Do you manage the Essex way? Is being designed to provide managers at Essex with a greater understanding of how we manage at Essex. Resources and guidance will be available to support managers in their role. It will include insights from managers, practical activities and an opportunity to plan your future development as a manager. We intend to launch this in late March and will keep you updated with developments.
  3. Annual refresher training. To ensure that colleagues continue to be fully supported in their roles, Essential Training refreshers will need to be completed after the start of academic year 2021-22. It will introduce important legislative changes that people will need to be aware of, raise relevant issues or themes that have emerged during the last year and test essential aspects of How We Work at Essex.

If you have any questions or feedback regarding our Moodle resources or approach please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at