New Public Health Service for England

In April 2013 a new Public Health Service came into operation in England.

Environmental health practitioners are playing a key role in the new service which is being run by local authorities.

The CIEH has been working hard to influence public policy on the development of the new service and to support CIEH members whose participation in the new service is crucial to its success.

On 19 November 2012 we held a conference entitled England’s New Public Health Service - Making it all Work at which public health minister Anna Soubry confirmed that EHPs are seen as the ‘guardians of public health.’

In December 2012 we published a briefing note for CIEH members outlining what a Joint Strategic Needs Assessment entails and how environmental health services may contribute to the local health mapping either to contribute to the JSNA process directly and/or to use health mapping to aid the environmental health service response.

In February 2013 we contributed to a District Councils’ Network publication entitled District Action on Public Health.How district councils contribute towards the new health and wellbeing agenda in local government. The publication demonstrates how the activities of district councils will improve health outcomes across the Public Health Outcomes Framework and how districts’ frontline services, public assets and local partnerships have a unique and multi-dimensional role in improving outcomes across the wider determinants of health, health improvement and health protection.

We also commissioned Nottingham Trent University to develop a mapping health toolkit that enables environmental health officers to develop public health profiles for their locality.

The report, published by The Kings Fund and commissioned by the District Councils' Network (DCN), The district council contribution to public health: a time of challenge and opportunity, aims to contribute to the understanding, assessment and development of the role of district councils in improving the health of their citizens and communities. The report focuses on district councils' role in promoting public health through some of their key functions and enabling roles.

Background to the new Public Health Service for England 

The Health and Wellbeing System Improvement Programme

The Local Government Association has assembled a Health and Wellbeing System Improvement Programme which is a single support and improvement offer being delivered together with partner organisations. It covers health and wellbeing boards, public health and Local Healthwatch. The aim is that “Health and Wellbeing Boards will be confident in their system wide strategic leadership role, have the capability to deliver transformational change through the development of effective strategies to drive the successful commissioning and provision of services and will be able to create improvements in the health and wellbeing of the local community.”

The CIEH is a supporting partner organisation and is represented on the Health and Wellbeing System Improvement Steering Group. Further information on the programme and the initiatives it covers can be found in the programme’s prospectus.
 

▼ Background to the new Public Health Service for England 

In November 2010 the Coalition Government published its proposals for developing a new Public Health Service for England.

Healthy lives, healthy people: Our strategy for public health in England 

The CIEH welcomed the White Paper and its associated documents. We undertook a series of consultation events on the Government’s proposals in early 2011 and presented our response directly to the then Public Health Minister, Anne Milton, at the closing event on 31 March 2011.

In January 2011 the Government published its Health and Social Care Bill which, among other things, incorporated the necessary legislative changes needed to bring the new service into existence. The CIEH was active throughout the passage of the Bill in putting forward the case for the environmental health profession to play a leading role in the new service, producing a number of parliamentary briefings and tabling amendments.

A particular concern of ours was that the County and District Councils should be required to co-operate in order to deliver joined-up and effective services. We wrote to the then Secretary of State of Health, Andrew Lansley, to put forward our case and received a reply from him making it clear that his Department expects County Councils to involve their districts. The letter contains some helpful comments about involvement in the new Health and Wellbeing Boards and the processes leading to the carrying out of the Joint Strategic Needs Assessments and the creation of the new health and wellbeing strategies. The Health and Social Care Bill received Royal Assent on 27 March 2012, becoming the Health and Social Care Act 2012  

Marmot Review event

On 23 February 2011, the CIEH and the Marmot Health Inequalities Review Team held a conference at CIEH headquarters with the aim of addressing the key questions facing local authorities as they gear up to take over the public health lead from the NHS in the delivery of England’s local public health services from 2013 onwards.

Health Select Committee Report

In November 2011 the Health Select Committee published the report of its ‘Public Health’ inquiry which examined the Government’s proposals in detail. The CIEH submitted written evidence to the inquiry. It welcomed the Committee’s report and recommendations and published a summary of the report for CIEH members.

Public Health Outcomes Framework

In January 2012 the Government published a Public Health Outcomes Framework for England, 2013-2016. The framework sets out the desired outcomes for public health and how these will be measured and gives the lead role for achieving this to local authorities. A set of supporting public health indicators will help focus understanding of progress year by year nationally and locally on those things that matter most to public health. The CIEH welcomed publication of the framework which incorporates many of the indicators it had been calling for but feels that there are some indicators missing, for example on housing, contaminated land and the provision of wholesome water and food to reduce disease.

 
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