Innovation Exchange

Estates Excellence


Key activities

Benefits and impacts


Estates Excellence is an approach developed by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to help businesses improve health, safety and welfare in the workplace. The Dundee Estates Excellence initiative took an innovative approach to rolling out the HSE model, tailoring this to make it more attractive to local businesses. The initiative focused on early intervention and improving health and safety outcomes for businesses and workers alike, and has been highly successful in raising awareness that workplace health and safety is good for business and compliance reduces the long term demand for services. It has now been recommended as a model for other local authorities to follow.

Theme: Partnership and Collaboration

dundee city council logo

Dundee City Council developed a project to reduce workplace accidents and improve workplace health, safety and welfare in local businesses. During the planning stages it was agreed to use the HSE’s Estates Excellence model but to modify this approach to make it more attractive to local businesses and improve take-up by keeping time and cost to a minimum while maintaining the integrity of the programme. The initiative was piloted in the West Pitkerro and Baldovie Industrial Estates, chosen due to the compact layout of the estates and the broad mix of businesses located there.


One of the key changes made was to remove the requirement for a workplace visit to identify and profile risk. This decision was made to address potential concerns that such visits would require up to 2 hours of a manager’s or business owner’s time to host them. It was felt that this would deter small businesses from engaging with Estates Excellence or be perceived as enforcement by another name.


 In place of most formal structured training courses, awareness raising sessions of 1 hour duration were developed with the needs of the businesses in mind, drawing on local knowledge and intelligence to hand. To achieve positive outcomes in workplace health and safety improvement, the sessions covered Personal Protective Equipment, Display Screen Equipment, Fire Safety, Control Of Substances Hazardous to Health and Manual Handling.


In addition to these, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health’s (IOSH’s) accredited Working Safely course was provided by two local training companies and funded by the Scottish Centre for Healthy Working Lives.


The enthusiasm of the planning team and the support of the companies and organisations which provided session facilitators and finance ensured the project gained the momentum to succeed. Michelin Tyre Plc, whose factory is located in the heart of the West Pitkerro Estate and within easy walking distance of the businesses targeted, provided the ideal training venue free of charge.


Estates Excellence in Dundee proved to be a success and this was confirmed by the numerous positive comments received from the companies and the candidates alike. The size of the project team and the tailoring of the Estates Excellence model kept costs to a minimum. Lasting contacts within local companies, emergency services and other agencies have proved invaluable in areas such as the sharing of information, highlighting issues relevant to safety in the workplace and directing workers and businesses alike to Council services and workplace support organisations. The learning outcomes from Dundee’s Estates Excellence project included a review of the approach to future interventions through a better understanding of where Dundee businesses required health and safety support.

Companies were asked what they thought of the Estates Excellence programme and its impact on their business. Of the many positive testimonials received, the 2 examples below are typical:


Without a shadow of doubt this is one of the best organised initiatives that I personally have been involved with in my twenty years experience as the Managing Director of a company. Having taken part personally in a few of these courses I have seen at first hand the professionalism of the trainers and the amount of organisation that has went into this event and applaud you and your colleagues for making this happen! This event has certainly improved the Health and Safety Awareness in our office and hopefully with the training provided help reduce the risk of accidents in the workplace. We would welcome the opportunity to participate in any future events which you may organise."


      John Wiseman, Managing Director, Pitkerro Plumbing & Heating Ltd


Dundee City Council provided an excellent service under the banner of Estates Excellence Dundee 2015, producing informative and educational courses covering a broad spectrum of health and safety issues in the workplace whether in the office, workshop, or on construction sites. These courses gave a solid grounding in H&S to our new staff, and at the same time experienced employees and directors alike received invaluable refresher courses in working safely.


      David Johnston, Commercial Director, Caledonia Contracts Ltd


In addition, candidates were given an opportunity to score what they knew about the subject prior to the Awareness session and again at the end, with scores ranging from   1 = No knowledge to 10 = Good knowledge. Most of the 96 candidates improved their overall subject knowledge by between 2 and 6 points. 24 Candidates also passed the IOSH Working Safely Course.


Although the long term success of the initiative will only be measured in reduced injuries and ill-health over the coming years, the continuing success of the Dundee Estates Excellence initiative is demonstrated by the heightened interest of the Scottish enforcement community and ongoing enquiries to our team regarding further potential projects of this type.

The HSE’s model for roll out of Estates Excellence was prescriptive in its approach, including mandatory workplace visits which could be labour intensive and time consuming. This approach has had mixed success throughout the UK.


Dundee City Council’s innovative approach streamlined Estates Excellence, maintaining the integrity of the initiative while keeping costs and time commitment for all parties to a minimum. After reviewing the mix of businesses in the estates being targeted, the project group, with the approval of the Scottish Estates Excellence Board, removed the site support visit requirement. Instead we ran a package of Awareness Sessions that seemed appropriate for the make up of the businesses targeted. The Awareness Sessions departed from structured training courses delivered at previous initiatives, while removing the mandatory site visit requirement allayed any perception that enforcement visits were at the heart of Estates Excellence. Awareness Sessions were kept short and to the point and lasted no more than 1 hour, meeting the needs of candidates and businesses. The exception to this was the IOSH accredited Working Safely course which lasts a full day. This was offered free of charge to businesses and supported by two local training companies and IOSH.  The cost of the course was funded by the Scottish Centre for Healthy Working Lives and the training companies and IOSH who waived their fees.


The way in which Estates Excellence was implemented in Dundee has been commended by the HSE and the Partnership for Heath and Safety Scotland (PHASS) for its innovative approach, recommending it as an example to other Local Authorities to follow. The Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland (REHIS), included a presentation on Estates Excellence by one of the Dundee team members at their recent Health and Safety Update to share experiences and learning points and offer assistance to other Local Authorities if required.

Contact details:

To find out more about this case study, please contact:


Lindsay Matthew

Food and Health Safety Manager

Dundee City Council

01382 436233

Case study added to site: June 2016

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