The Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) has produced a self-assessment toolkit to help health and well-being boards navigate their way through complex issues and find solutions that suit local circumstances.
Having established initial structures and processes following the transfer of responsibilities for public health under the Health and Social Care Act 2012, boards now face important strategic decisions. The toolkit has been designed to help them examine organisational cultures and processes and develop appropriate communications, monitoring and scrutiny arrangements that will take them into the next stage of their work, as well as considering resources.
The new e-publication, Ensuring health and well-being: a self-assessment tool for health and well-being boards, sets out questions that will help them consider the efficiency and effectiveness of partnerships and assess the different types of resources available to those involved – including powers, social capital, skills and assets as well as funding. It draws upon research carried out in Northamptonshire County Council, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council and City of York Council.
APSE's chief executive, Paul O'Brien, said: 'Transferring responsibility for public health and well-being has been a very positive move and local authorities and their partners have hit the ground running. Now health and well-being boards are in their second operational year, they need to maintain momentum. Finding consensus between partners who may have different organisational goals is not necessarily easy and competition for resources may detract from a focus on holistic outcomes. This toolkit has been developed to help tackle some of the tough questions involved head-on.
'We don't claim to be offering standard answers as circumstances, needs, priorities and resources will vary greatly from place to place. What the toolkit does, however, is help consider these issues and think about what success might look like in terms of reducing risks to health and well-being and encouraging people to make healthier choices,' he added.
The toolkit was produced as part of APSE's research partnership with De Montfort University, which has developed the 'ensuring council' as a positive vision for local government in the next decade and beyond. The ensuring ethos recognises the responsibility of local authorities to act as stewards of their local communities, collaborate with partners and link strategy with delivery of services on the ground. The toolkit applies these principles to health and well-being goals.