Barnsley Council sign charter to provide protection for its 3,000 employees

We’re extremely proud to be the latest local authority to sign The Dying to Work charter which demonstrates our ongoing commitment and protection to any Barnsley Council employee who faces a terminal illness. Signing up to the charter is about providing employees with choices around how they wish to proceed and be supported at work following such a terminal diagnosis. 

By signing the charter, we’re publicly declaring our commitment to protecting and guiding terminally ill employees throughout their remaining employment with the council. This includes minimising unnecessary stress and worry; providing job security and peace of mind and giving them the right to choose the best course of action for them.  

The charter is a part of a wider Dying to Work campaign run by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) which is seeking greater security and protection for terminally ill workers through a ‘protected period’ where they cannot be dismissed because of their condition. This campaign was launched by TUC following the case of Jacci Woodcock, a 58-year-old sales manager from Derbyshire, who was forced out of her job after being diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. 

The council’s charter was signed at a special ceremony in Barnsley Town Hall by Sarah Norman, Chief Executive of Barnsley Council, Cllr Sir Steve Houghton CBE, Leader of Barnsley Council and representatives from the council and union bodies. Time was taken to fondly remember Cllr Gardiner, Cabinet spokesperson for Core Services, who was due to attend the ceremony but sadly passed away before the charter was finalised. Cllr Gardiner was a huge supporter and advocate for our workforce and will be greatly missed. 

Cllr Sir Steve Houghton CBE, Leader of Barnsley Council, said: “I’m delighted that we have signed the Dying to Work charter – it is such an important campaign for us to support. Under such circumstances, everyone reacts differently, but whether an employee chooses to continue working, or to leave, they have the right to receive help and support.  

“Our employees are the heart of our organisation. They are not a statistic, they are valuable members of the council and deserve support, respect and dignity. I am proud to say that we have always been committed to the protection of our staff in this way, but signing the charter provides an opportunity to show our employees, future employees and other organisations that we’re committed to protecting our workforce when they need it the most. I can’t see why any employer wouldn’t want to protect their staff in this way and would urge any organisation or business to sign their own charter.”  

UNISON Convenors, April Pepper and Ben Harvey-Wade, said: “UNISON brought the Dying to Work charter to Barnsley Council’s attention and were pleased that they supported our suggestion to sign up. In our experience, the council already supports employees with terminal or life-limiting conditions with sensitivity and compassion, but by signing the charter, it demonstrates how committed they are to protecting their employees and raises awareness for those unfortunate enough to find themselves in such a situation that they will be supported, and their wishes taken into account.” 

GMB Convenor, Ann Gallagher, said: “GMB are pleased and proud that the council has signed up to this important charter. It means that our members are protected at work should they fall terminally ill which will ease any extra stress they may suffer at this troubled time.”  

Bill Adams, Regional Secretary, Yorkshire and Humber TUC, said: “Yorkshire and Humber TUC welcome the signing of Barnsley Council for the Dying to Work charter initiative. The council join an extensive list of employers across the region who have reached an agreement with their staff union to take care of workers facing terminal illness during their employment.” 

For more information about signing up to the charter or TUC, please visit: 



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