Imagining the Future Frontline: Putting People First and Taking Action

Even before Coronavirus added untold pressure and changed almost every aspect of life, frontline services across the World were facing a perfect storm of challenges: years of austerity and under-funding, an emerging mental health crisis, retention and recruitment issues, the constant chase for true representation and inclusion – plus many more that are as entrenched as they are interwoven.

As we enter 2021 with levels of uncertainty, burnout and demand unabated, it’s time to forget going back to “the way things were” and instead imagine the way they could be instead.

Frontline Fulfilment is a collaboration between two innovative services successfully harnessing the power of this positive, forward-thinking approach. Mightify works closely with people and organisations across the emergency services to allow them to thrive across career, wellbeing and personal development. The Teacher Empowerment Project builds on the principle that each and every teacher has far more power and agency than they realise – the power to change not only their own health, career and future but that of everyone around them.

The core concept of the event is to imagine a people-first future across emergency services and education. People are the power behind all these services. Services we depend on as a nation but which for too long have been undervalued, underpaid and unsupported.

Panel topics will include:

• Imagining the Future Frontline

• Coaching the Whole Person

• Values-based leadership

• Flexible Working on the Frontline

• Practical and Proactive Suicide Prevention

• Mental Fitness on the Frontline

• Increasing Equality, Diversity and Inclusion across the sectors

What sets this event apart from traditional conferences is the scope – this is about looking at the shared issues from emergency services to education and beyond, recognising that shared issues can logically also lead to shared solutions rather than continuing to work in silos.

Secondly, this is an event about action and progress – we do not believe that long-term surveys or committees that do not result in tangible momentum can continue to be the only offering.

We are bringing together experts from across sectors and across the World: academics, hands-on leaders, those who have been to dark places and built programmes to shed light for others, those with stories to tell and those with investment in solutions.

No longer can we put up posters, tweet platitudes and say we’re in a phase of "awareness": it isn’t enough, and we owe those who continue to give it all for society far better.

Solutions do not need to come from people of particular rank, position or background and the criteria for participation in this event and the movement we hope to fuel are simple: to care, to support each other and to be committed to lasting and meaningful progress.

Some of the issues we will explore are relatively new and emergent – for example in exploring the concept of moral injury in service-led occupations we will ask whether the organisational environment impacts the individual as much as the incidents they encounter.

In discussing a more proactive approach to suicide prevention we will ask: why, when more police officers die by suicide than in the line of duty, do we spend hugely on physical safety equipment yet very little on mental fitness? We are all comfortable that wearing a stab-proof vest or a seatbelt is preferable to the potential consequences of not doing so, yet when we now know that frontline personnel will be repeatedly exposed to trauma why do we wait for the aftermath?

In workforce issues, we will look at recruitment, retention and resettlement as inherently connected processes. Policing, teaching, nursing and other frontline services are all striving to “uplift” numbers yet seem to pay little attention to the talent they already have or the reasons why people leave. Is this not akin to solving the problem of a bucket full of holes by pouring more and more water in?

This event is not about bitterness, anger or bashing “the system”. It aims to highlight the undoubtedly brilliant work happening in various places on these issues. However, it is also born out of a frustration at slow progress in too many areas and a desire to tackle the difficult conversations and avoid an “ostrich” mentality. We have seen the damage that can be done when promises are made without subsequent action: the word “wellbeing” can now lead to rolled eyes and cynicism in some quarters when it becomes seen as lip-service or a box-ticking exercise.

Therefore, decision-making in these areas needs to involve all levels of organisations, adequate vulnerability to accept that some things need to change, and a sustained investment in embedding tangible value.

We will be boldly setting out solutions that will help people thrive across sectors fundamental to society – the term “frontline” here is as much about the frontline of society, rather than just the traditional view of uniforms or flashing blue lights. The Coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the debt society owes to a group of talented dedicated people whose work often goes unnoticed – it is time that society began to repay that debt with interest.

Through open, honest and positive panel discussions we aim to expose what works and what doesn’t – what we can learn from and what we need to do differently. Through expert presentations, discussions and workshops we aim to bring tangible take-aways to every attendee that will assist them to thrive in their service and beyond. The panel discussions will be live and interactive on the day of the event and all sessions will be available on-demand afterwards to enable maximum ongoing learning and collaboration.

Join us and our panel of expert speakers on Saturday 13 February in future-focused, people-first discussions around careers, career development, CPD and wellbeing - and everything in between.

Edit: You can now watch all the panels and presentations back, on-demand here.

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