Cafcass uses health cash plan to cut costs

Children’s social work organisation Cafcass’s decision to implement a health cash plan was driven by three objectives: to support the wellbeing of its staff; to reward its workforce in the absence of pay rises; and to consolidate its healthcare benefits spend.  

Cafcass uses health cash plan

Daryl Maitland, senior HR business partner at the organisation, says: “Initially, we had a look at what we were spending on the wellbeing of our staff and a couple of things we noticed were a little worrying, or things we could improve on.”

For example, Cafcass was processing employees’ eye tests through its expenses system.

Maitland also wanted to widen its healthcare benefits provision to reach more employees. “Around 80% of what we were spending was distributed across about 20% of the workforce, so we wanted to find a way of at least offering wellbeing support more equitably, right across the workforce,” he says.

Maitland kicked off his five-month project in August 2013 with an employee survey to identify employees’ healthcare needs.

“We got a 50% response rate, which was the highest response rate we’d received through any survey at that time among our 1,850 staff,” he says. “We used that to build a specification to go out to tender with.”

The survey identified three healthcare benefits that were of value to Cafcass employees: eyecaredental care and complementary therapies.

The organisation considered a number of health cash plan providers before appointing Medicash Healthcare in December, because of its ability to meet its workforce needs most closely. “Medicash could offer what our staff had said would be important to them, but a whole host more on top of that, which we were really pleased with,” says Maitland.

For example, Medicash offers six face-to-face counselling sessions a year for each employee through its employee assistance programme [EAP], compared with the five offered by Cafcass’s previous EAP provider, as well as cognitive behavioural therapy, which has helped to reduce the organisation’s sickness absences rates .

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Cafcass had reduced the average number of days’ sick leave its social workers took per year from 16.2 days in 2008/9 to just under seven days by April 2013, but Maitland wanted to use the health cash plan to reduce this further, to about five days. The organisation’s sickness absence rate averaged 6.76 days per employee per year in the 12 months to 30 November 2013.

Read the digital edition of our Health cash plans supplement 2014 in full.