Council workers in Swindon seem to be more stressed than their counterparts in other authorities.

Psychological issues, such as stress, are keeping Swindon Borough Council's staff absences higher than average.

A new report to the authority's audit committee will say the borough council has a higher absence rate than the average public sector organisation at 12.5 days per full-time equivalent employee for the year to December 2017.

And while most individual absences are caused by musculo-skeletal injuries, the long-term nature of psychological difficulties such as stress means they are the cause of the most days lost.

The report on absence management says: "The council has a higher than average sickness absence level in comparison to public sector averages. Thus has been recognised and a sickness absence project was created."

The plan is to look at data on why council staff go sick and to work with managers to bring down the absence rates.

The target is to get the average per FTE for a year down to nine days by March this year, and even further to seven days by the year after.: "while reducing the sickness absence rate will not deliver direct savings in all cases the benefits will also come from efficiency in the increase in worked hours."

Workers in the communities and housing directorate are most likely to go sick - with the average there being 14.2 days per FTE staff member, while workers in the resources directorate take on average 9 days off sick a year.

Fully one third of all days lost are down to psychological reasons.

the report says: "Trends and hotspots from the sickness absence data have been identified. This highlighted that stress, anxiety and depression were the causes of the highest number of days lost, and this is higher than the national average for local government.

"To help reduce both absences and presenteeism (attending work while sick) due to psychological issues, a Thriving at Work project group was set up in November 2017.

"A yearlong campaign was started in April 2018 to promote positive mental health for employees."

Musculoskeletal injuries are the next highest cause of absence, often injuries sustained the by the council's manual workers, such as those working on housing or in the refuse and recycling collection teams. The vast majority of those injuries result only in short-term absences.

The report points out that there is still work to be done on monitoring sickness at Euclid Street and Wat Tyler House -, with " only 41 per cent of staff with a sickness rate needing recording being entered in the management system."