William Eichler 19 November 2015

District councils ‘sleeping giants of public health’ says report

District councils ‘sleeping giants of public health’ says report image

District councils are the ‘sleeping giants of public health’ and should be seen as such by the NHS and other tiers of local government, according to a new report from The Kings Fund.

The health think-tank claims the existing work carried out by district councils in the integration of public health and care systems in England’s shire areas should be recognised.

Currently, according to ‘The district council contribution to public health: a time of challenge and opportunity’, district councils make a number of important contributions to health outcomes.

They look after the efficient and high quality management and ownership of affordable housing. According to the reports authors, housing costs are ‘the most important factor in the relationship between housing and poverty’.

Districts also deliver home adaptations to prevent avoidable domestic accidents, such as falls and trips, which burden the health service.

The provision of leisure facilities, green spaces, and homelessness prevention services by councils also has important health benefits.

The King’s Fund advises districts to focus on three key factors that, it argues, will help them become integrated into mainstream health policy. They should continue leading innovation in service delivery, strengthen their enabling role in the health of their communities, and prove effectiveness and show return on investment.

‘District councils have a long and proud history of providing public health services, and supporting positive health outcomes for our communities’, according to the District Council Network (DCN) chairman, Cllr Neil Clarke MBE.

‘Recent proposals for decentralisation across England’, he continued, ‘and the ongoing evolution of the public sector emphasises the need for clarity and recognition of the roles districts play in ill-health prevention, and greater understanding of the opportunities for greater collaboration and integration presented by devolution.’

The report urges the DCN to make sure its members are at the core of the integration and devolution agenda and calls for greater collaboration between local government, Clinical Commissioning Groups, and better alignment between health, social care and preventative services through Health and Wellbeing Boards.

The report’s co-author, David Buck, said: ‘For too long district councils have been the sleeping giants of public health. Maximising their role in service delivery and the wider determinants of health will be crucial for the millions of people who live in district council areas.’

Supporting people with dementia image

Supporting people with dementia

Paul Smith and Francis Philippa explain how four different pilot projects have helped improve the quality of life for people living with dementia.
Highways jobs

Director of Learning

Camden London Borough Council
Up to £85,850
To be considered for this post we are looking for a degree educated innovative and diligent Director who has previous demonstrable experience. Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Chief Officer

Leeds City Council
Up to £106k
Leeds, a city built on talent! Leeds, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Leeds City Council

Head of Educational Safeguarding and Inclusion

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
Up to £61,751
As an experienced educational specialist, with a depth of knowledge, passion and commitment for inclusion you’ll... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Resourcer/Support Officer

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£19,554 - £21,166
You will provide appropriate support to and work alongside a disabled Corporate Policy Officer working within the Strategy and Policy Team.  Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Newly Qualified Children’s Social Worker

London Borough of Bexley
£29,966 inclusive of Choices and Market Premium
If this sounds exciting and reassuring, we want you to get in touch with us! Bexleyheath, London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Bexley

Local Government News

Latest issue - Local Goverrnemnt News

The March issue of Local Government News explores alternative funding channels that are available to councils beyond the Public Works Loan Board, what hurdles merging councils face in coming together, and how local government is handling GDPR.

This issue also has a special highways and street lighting section exploring how councils can use lighting to embark on their smart city journey and using IoT technology to weather the storm.

Register for your free magazine