EAP use booms at Herts council

Hertfordshire County Council has seen usage of its employee assistance programme more than double after adopting a targeted approach to promote the scheme to 10,300 staff.

Hayley Cann, human resources officer at Hertfordshire County Council, said a quarterly report revealed the new Milestones EAP, which was introduced on 1 April, has a utilisation rate of 9.6%, up from 3% to 4% under a previous scheme.

"It’s been really, really positive so far. It’s targeted to be not just thought of as a counselling service, it’s about information and giving advice as well."

The council promoted the scheme extensively prior to its introduction, and Cann said the message was now being spread by word of mouth.

"That’s quite a strong sign that we are getting the message across," she added. Cann also attributed the greater interest to new services that allow employees’ family members to use it, while a help line including consumer rights advice had proved popular.

Hertfordshire County Council is now planning to extend the scheme to its education payroll.