Collection: Health and social care

Delivering strong and effective health and social care is one of the most important roles local governments have. It is an ever-changing task as new problems and priorities occur. Within each local community, there are unique challenges due to factors like citizen demographic, resources and the environment – however, there are many uniting lessons to be shared from all around the world that can help empower local government as they serve their communities.

This collection explores LGIU’s work on everything health and social care. Showcasing a range of resources including case studies, round-ups, guidance, Global Local newsletters, trainings and events, and an in-depth paper from the LGIU’s Local Democracy Research Centre, this collection is your one-stop-shop for all things local health, well-being and care. As we dive into the remit of health and social care, these resources explore several important topics including mental health, community engagement and trauma support.

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The role of local government and international best practice

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The case for integrating planning policy and health policy

This briefing explores unique urban planning initiatives from around the world that are aimed at promoting healthier lifestyles, and the mechanisms that support the development of these policies. The case studies used include initiatives implemented in the UK, Minneapolis, Singapore, and Victoria, Australia. Read here.

Public health 101: the FAQ

This explainer highlights the importance of UK public health services in tackling deep-seated health inequalities. In a Q&A style, it outlines the level of spending and pressures public health services have been under and how councils can manage and promote public health initiatives. Read here.

Climate change and health inequalities

Climate Change Project Manager Judi Kilgallon from the Improvement Service discusses their recent briefing with Public Health Scotland and Adaptation Scotland on how climate change can affect health and health inequalities in Scotland, both directly and indirectly. She highlights the impact on areas like housing and transport to access to goods and services. Read here.

Global Local: Health and Social Care Integration

This issue of Global Local looks at the integration of health and social care services. Integrated care is about adopting a person-centred approach to improve outcomes for people who use health and care services. Read here.

Local Health Systems: Relationships Not Structures

This in-depth paper from the LGIU’s Local Democracy Research Centre was created through interviews with council officers across England as a way to develop an understanding of local government’s role within systems for health and wellbeing. It demonstrates that there is huge potential for system wide partnerships, especially following the Covid-19 pandemic. Find below the report and other resources related to the report launch.

The role of councils in integrated care systems

This briefing looks at the early evidence from reviews of the establishment of the 42 Integrated Care Systems (ICS) across England and the role that local government is playing in progressing and delivering ICSs despite the backdrop of difficulties. Read here.

Supporting resilient communities to address health and wellbeing

This briefing identifies key challenges to public health and wellbeing in the face of a changing climate and looks at examples of how councils in the UK and internationally are beginning to address them. Read here.

Nordic Smart Cities: Using data to improve population health

Following the pandemic, populations are more open than ever to helping collect and report their individual health data for collective outcomes. In this article, we highlight innovation from the Nordic Smart City Network, where cities are using data from a range of sources to target health and well-being issues extending well beyond Covid-19. Read the article here.

Health and social services reform in Finland – Centralising local government services

This briefing provides insight into the controversial health and social services reform that is being rolled out in Finland right now. It looks at the years leading up to the large-scale reform that is fundamentally changing the provision and funding of services that were historically within a local government remit. Read here.

Physical health and well-being

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A Wexford Telehealth Project that aims to support older people to age in place

Winning the Age-Friendly Initiative in the Chambers Ireland 2022 Excellence in Local Government Awards, this article features an overview of the Telehealth Project undertaken by a multi-agency stakeholder group in County Wexford. Read here.

Ireland’s first outdoor learn to cycle track – an award winning health and wellbeing project in Waterford City and County Council

Next up in our series of articles showcasing the latest local government innovation from the Chambers Ireland 2022 Excellence in Local Government Awards, we hear about Ireland’s first outdoor learn to cycle track from Waterford City and County Council. Read here.

Obesity – a chronic health and policy problem

Every UK government since 1992 has identified obesity as a major health problem. Yet despite numerous strategies, targets and institutional reforms, obesity keeps on rising. This briefing examines the failure of government policy in this regard, and what policymakers – at national and local level – should do next. Read here.

Government Food Strategy – what does it mean for local authorities?

The government food strategy aims to deliver ministers’ ambitions for a prosperous UK agri-food sector, contributing to levelling up, greater food security in an unpredictable world, and healthier, affordable and more sustainable diets for all. Local government is expected to play an important role in delivering the priorities. Read here.

An obesogenic environment? Childhood obesity and urban planning

This briefing explains how current research and practice in policy approaches to the built environment and childhood obesity can inform local government planning and policy in Scotland. Read here.

Where are the fat people in obesity policy?

Why doesn’t obesity policy seem to work? A fat person weighs in. This highly personal piece examines the complexity of weight interventions at the population and individual levels. Read here.

Mental Health and Wellbeing

Mental health and wellbeing are increasingly being prioritised by health services globally. Whilst these services are becoming more and more common, they are relatively new to health services which are having to adapt and change. The articles below explore these new services and local government’s role within them.

Paper brain and heart tree, world heart day, world mental health day and wellness concept

Global Local: Mental Health Support

This issue of Global Local looks at how local authorities can best support the mental health of the communities they serve.. Read here.

Global Local: Trauma-informed services: content and benefits

This issue of Global Local looks at how local government can support victims of crime and trauma. The growth of trauma-informed practice in health and social care has evolved rapidly in the last few years and is now being effectively integrated into services and support structures globally. Read here.

Green spaces and mental health – a personal perspective from Finland

The importance of green spaces – and blue spaces – for our mental health has become ever more pronounced in the last few years. In this article, Suvi Loponen reflects on some of her personal observations of the importance of green spaces and the differences between Finland and Scotland. Read here.

In it together: mental health support for local government workers

This briefing highlights examples of community and workforce mental health support in Ireland and Australia. Also looking at how the psychological model of compassion can help local government leaders lessen the impact of mental ill health on staff. Read here.

Lightening the load: mental health support for local government workers

From Covid-19 to a cost of living crisis, UK local authorities are reporting mental health challenges among the workforce. This situation is challenging for both individuals and organisations when workforce numbers are subject to cuts and vacancies cannot be filled. This briefing highlights ways local authorities are delivering mental health support and outlines positive managerial approaches. Read here.

Tackling the challenges of adult mental health

This briefing examines the crucial leadership role of local authorities in addressing the growing challenges associated with adult mental health and contains case studies with key insights from councils in England. Read here.

Children and families

In the UK in recent years important data has revealed failings in the care of mothers, babies and children which has led to tragic loss of life and significant harm, most commonly for poorer, racially diverse communities. This section offers resources exploring the cause and effects of health issues (physical and mental) for children, mothers and entire family units, as well as content providing guidance to local government officers on best practices and solutions to the issue. It will be of interest to everyone working in children’s and family services, and health and care services.

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Young people’s mental health – seeing and understanding implications for public services

This briefing reviews different components, causes and consequences of the mental health crisis particularly for young people at a key transition stage (ages 17-19) and examines immediate and strategic questions for local government. Read here.

Children and young people’s mental health today – embattled and in need of council support

A child or young person’s mental health can have long-term implications. This briefing explores some examples of programmes and initiatives, set up by Scotland’s local authorities, to help children and young people with their mental health. Read here.

The shocking impacts of poverty on the physical health of children and families

In 2019-22, it was estimated that 24% of children in Scotland were living in relative poverty after housing costs. This briefing looks at the overall picture and the most recent research on how poverty affects children’s physical health. Read here.

Global Local: Maternal and child health

This Global Local examines how local government can better engage with and improve maternal and child healthcare. Maternal and child health is some of the most crucial public health delivered – the time around pregnancy, birth and the first 1,000 days set the foundations for developing healthy children, adolescents and families. Read here.

Failing families: Sharing learning on maternal and child healthcare

This briefing aims to provide an overview of the current landscape of Maternal and Child Health (MCH) in the United Kingdom, and the ways that local councillors can interact with their constituents to best support and improve their health and wellbeing during this period. Read here.

Health equality and inequality

Public services are essential in building and maintaining good health and social care services. In 2019, there was a 24-year gap in healthy life expectancy between people living in the most and least socioeconomically deprived 10% of local areas in Scotland, and those living in the poorest two-fifths of households are almost eight times as likely to report poor health as the richest fifth.

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Leave no one behind: State of health and health inequalities in Scotland today

This briefing highlights how the Scottish Government approach to public health needs to be more focused and supported with resources locally. It also covers the ‘implementation gap’ and advocates for more achievable short term goals to complement the national performance framework. Read here.

Health equality and self determination for First Nations Peoples: The role of Local Government

This Policy Briefing takes a closer look at the both Close the Gap Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Equality Campaign both, and the Victorian Government’s Aboriginal and Local Government Strategy 2021-2026 and focuses in particular on local government’s role. Read here.

Equality in Health and Economic Outcomes

On 26 May 2022 SGS and LGiU Australia presented a live Q&A event looking at Equality in Health and Economic Outcomes. We invite you to watch the recording of the event. Read here.

UK Health, public health and social care round-up series

The health, public health and social care round-up is LGIU’s easy and digestible series summarising new policy, research and publications that are relevant to elected members and officers interested in health and social care.  It is intended to be a digested read and provides links to the source documentation of major reports for further consideration.

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