UK Policy and stakeholder overview -

By Juliet Adams MSc FCIPD

At this moment in time there are no universally accepted policies on the use of mindfulness in the workplace.  As interest in Mindfulness in the workplace has grown, concerns from various stakeholders have increased.  Concerns include the notion that mindfulness might become excessively diluted or over simplified, that mindfulness might be used as a 'band aid'  for toxic working cultures, or that 'cowboy practitioners' who are inadequately trained or experienced will lead the field into disrepute.  

At the time of writing (June 2016) the key UK stakeholders have adopted an 8 week centric stance which largely ignores the emerging evidence base for shorter courses.  This is likely to change and evolve with time and further research. 

Mindfulness policies and best practice guidelines in the UK

The UK Network for Mindfulness-Based Teacher Trainers 

The Networks vision is to represent the leading teacher training organisations in the UK. Its mission is a commitment to supporting and developing good practice and integrity in the delivery of Mindfulness-based approaches. The Networks seeks to do this by encouraging strong collaborative relationships between member organisations. Defining, upholding and disseminating standards. The network meets annually to develop consensus on Good Practice Standards for teaching mindfulness-based courses and for training others to teach them.

At present there are no universally accepted, enforced policies on the teaching of mindfulness in the workplace, the most appropriate teaching methods, or course structure.  Work to date has focussed largely on the medical and theraputic use of mindfulness.  With the latter in mind, The UK Network for Mindfulness-Based Teacher Trainers have developed a set of 'Good-practice Guidelines'.

for Teaching mindfulness-based courses for Trainers of Mindfulness-Based Teachers

These guidelines, whilst not developed for use in the workplace, and currently only covering 8 week clinically based programmes provide a good starting point for further discussion and adaptation as more evidence and best practice emerges.


The UK Government

In early 2014 parliamentarians set up a Mindfulness All-Party Parliamentary Group (MAPPG).  The MAPPG has co-chairs from the three main political parties, Chris Ruane (Labour), Tracey Crouch (Conservative) and Lorely Burt (Liberal Democrat). The MAPPG was launched in Parliament on May 7th 2014, with  over 150 people in attendance, including more than 30 Members of Parliament and peers.

The Mindful Nation UK report was published in October 2016 with a number of recommendations for mindfulness in thr workplace.

The Mindfulness Initiative

The Mindfulness Initiative is an advocacy project, aimed at increasing awareness of how mindfulness can benefit society. The Initiative is working with parliamentarians, media and policy makers to develop recommendations on the role of mindfulness in public policy and the workplace.

The Mindfulness Initiative is helping the Mindfulness All Party Parliamentary Group conduct an inquiry into how mindfulness could be incorporated into UK services and institutions. This will result in publication of the Mindful Nation UK report in 2015. They are working with government ministers, opinion-formers and employers to explain the evidence and develop appropriate mindfulness programmes.

Major centres for mindfulness research and teacher training in the UK

Bangor, Exeter & Oxford and Aberdeen Unversities are major centres for mindfulness research and teacher training in the UK.  At present none of the Universities teach curriculum developed specifically for the workplace, and base their teaching on the MBCT / MBSR medical and theraputic model of mindfulness.  There is currently debate about the need to develop a mindfulness curriculum specifically developed for the workplace.  Many would argue that as MBSR and MBCT have a robust research base, and have been proven effective at producing a range of desirable outcomes, it could be detrimental to deviate too far away from this model of mindfulness teaching.  Others argue that the eastern style teaching methods and 'group theraphy' style of group interaction detract, and argue the need for adaptation.

Bangor, Exeter & Oxford jointly developed a competency framework for Mindfulness-Based Interventions - called the MBI TAC.

The Bangor, Exeter & Oxford Mindfulness-Based Interventions Teaching  Assessment Criteria (MBI: TAC)
for assessing the competence and adherence of mindfulness-based class-based teaching