Programme launched to increase councils’ public health capacity

Councils will receive extra support to improve the health of their populations, courtesy of an Improvement and Development Agency programme launched today.

The two-year, Department of Health-funded healthy communities programme aims to increase councils’ public health capacity and ability to cut health inequalities.

Its joint head Susan Biddle said one challenge for councils in building public health capacity would be current changes to social care, given its importance to health improvement.

The programme aims to make public health central to councils’ strategies and help join up relevant functions, including social care, housing, environmental health, leisure and planning.

Councils will be assessed by fellow authorities, the IDeA and health partners on their public health capacity against the benchmark of an “ideal authority”, though the agency said it would not be promoting any particular structural arrangements.

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