NICE have published three new public health briefings for local government on Inequalities and population health, the Public Health Outcomes Framework and Alcohol.
These documents are aimed at local authorities and their partner organisations in the health and voluntary sectors, in particular those involved with health and wellbeing boards.
Local government is preparing to take on a wider remit for public health in communities from April 2013. To provide support, NICE has started producing specially tailored briefings to help councillors and local authority staff find out which public health actions are most effective in improving the health of people in their area, while also providing the best value for money.
Based on recommendations from existing NICE public health and clinical guidance, the briefings have been developed with input from the independent Local Government Reference Group, which comprises councillors, local government officers, and others with an interest in community health and wellbeing.
Examples of effective recommendations highlighted in the new briefings include:
- Adopting a two-pronged approach with a combination of interventions aimed at the whole population and individuals;
- Ensuring children and young people are protected from alcohol advertising as much as possible;
- Using local health, crime and related trauma data to map the extent of alcohol-related problems locally before developing or reviewing a licensing policy to ensure an area offers a wide range of leisure and cultural-based activities, rather than just providing alcohol-related entertainment
- Gathering information to inform the joint strategic needs assessment and to help develop the health and wellbeing strategy, to help allocate resources effectively to reduce variation in service access and uptake;
- Identifying those at risk and focusing interventions according to need;
- Assessing the potential health impact of a proposal and making recommendations for improving it, for example across transport, planning, housing, education, regeneration and health improvement; focus on tackling behaviours that increase the risk of ill health and premature death – and are generally more prevalent among people from lower socioeconomic groups – such as alcohol misuse, lack of physical activity and unintentional injuries.
Public Health Outcomes Framework indicators supported by NICE guidance include:
- Utilisation of green space for exercise/health reasons (increasing levels of physical activity in the local population);
- Killed or seriously injured casualties on England’s roads (accidental injury prevention; public health services for children and young people aged 5-19);
- Air pollution (local initiatives that reduce public health impacts of environmental risks; increasing levels of physical activity in the local population).