England & Wales Health and social care

Local health systems: relationships not structures


Local government either has a statutory responsibility for, or an influence on, much of what drives good health, including decent housing, environmental planning, education and skills provision, economic growth, and public health, as well as social care for adults and children. But to achieve the goals of improved long term outcomes across communities will require a step change in the role that councils play within local systems for health. To do this, we need both renewed local leadership and an adequate supply of funding.

The aim of thinking about local government in terms of systems is to build a more connected approach across places that drives towards a set of coherent and mutually supportive social and policy outcomes.

In research carried out by the LGIU’s Local Democracy Research Centre and supported by Browne Jacobson, we seek to develop an understanding of local government’s role within systems for health and wellbeing. In this paper, based on interviews with council officers in three areas of England, we show that there is huge potential for system wide partnerships, especially following the Covid-19 pandemic.

LGIU’s full response to the report can be found here.