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Gloucestershire Business News

£40,000 Government Brexit counselling contract awarded to Gloucester business

Brexit stress is at an all-time high and workers in The Civil Service are feeling the pressure.

The UK and EU hammered out another extension to the process overnight, ensuring that Brexit could remain unresolved until the end of October.

But a Gloucester business has come to the rescue of the civil servants who are preparing the country for exiting the EU, earning a £40,000 Government contract in the process.

Brockworth-based Care First was hired by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to implement its employee assistance programmes, which provide support for staff's mental health.

Punchline contacted Care First who neither confirmed nor denied the reports, but said that all of their client information is confidential.

However, a Defra spokesperson confirmed that the Care First contract expired just over two months ago.

The spokesperson said: "The health, safety and wellbeing of our staff is always a priority for Defra and we have a range of services on offer to support staff's mental health.

"This short-term contract expired at the end of January and bolstered our own wellbeing services for two months while we made changes to our existing employee support."

According to the Care First website, the employee assistance programmes provide solutions that are "cost-effective" and have "an immediate impact on employee effectiveness".

Defra employed the firm to offer surgeries at York, London and Bristol while they improved existing services for employees.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the national press has had their say on the issue - with a range of differing views.

The Guardian's headline reservedly read: "Civil servants handling no-deal plans offered mental health support".

Whereas The Express took a different approach with exclaiming: "YOU pay for counselling for the poor loves in the civil service stressed out by Brexit".

Tussell, an authoritative data source on UK government contracts, reported that Defra had awarded 19 Brexit-related contracts to professional services.

These related to assessments of the impact of Brexit on other industries, as well as mental health services.

With Brexit set to stretch out across the year, it's likely the stress of the nation, and particularly those working in government, will escalate and supportive services may be in even higher demand.

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