Working with local authorities

Health dictionary definition

We work closely with representative bodies for local authorities, including the Local Government Association (LGA) and Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS).

Health and wellbeing boards

Each upper tier local authority has established a health and wellbeing board (HWB) to act as a forum for local commissioners across the NHS, social care, public health and other services. 

HWBs aim to develop a shared understanding of local needs, develop joint local priorities and encourage commissioners to work in a more integrated, ‘joined up’ manner. 

Formally established in April 2013, the boards:

  • examine local health needs and lead the development of joint strategic needs assessments and the joint health and wellbeing strategies 
  • promote integration and partnership working.
  • HWBs will assess local needs through joint strategic needs assessments and make collaborative decisions on how best to meet them through a joint health and wellbeing strategy. 

HWBs should also be involved throughout development of clinical commissioning groups’ (CCG) commissioning plans. They will have the right to refer plans back to the CCG or NHS England if they think the plans do not take proper account of the JHWS.

We are working with partners to support the development of health and wellbeing boards.

Joint strategic needs assessments 

A joint strategic needs assessments (JSNA) analyses health needs of populations to inform and guide commissioning of health, wellbeing and social care services. It underpins the health and wellbeing strategy, a new statutory requirement introduced by the Health & Social Care Act 2012. 

The NHS and local authorities have been required to produce a JSNA annually since 2007. The government believes that JSNAs will be a much stronger foundation for effective planning and commissioning when combined with the new joint health and wellbeing strategies. 

The NHS Confederation, in collaboration with Local Government Improvement and Development and the Royal Society for Public Health, produced a briefing on Joint Strategic Needs Assessments. 

It provides a guide to producing a JSNA for NHS and local authority commissioners as well as providers and the voluntary sector. 

Joint health and wellbeing strategies

Each HWB must develop a joint health and wellbeing strategy (JHWS), setting local priorities for joint action to meet the needs identified in the JSNA. The strategy should be concise and high level, to provide a framework within which more detailed and specific commissioning plans for the NHS, social care, public health and other services are developed.

Public health

As a result of the reforms, local authorities are now responsible for statutory public health responsibilities, aligning their responsibilities for education, employment, environment, housing and transport with public health. Local authorities are funded to carry out their new public health responsibilities through a ring-fenced grant.

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