• A scoping exercise of different approaches used to support evidence-informed policy and practice to improve health and wellbeing and tackle inequalities in local government settings.
  • Aimed to build an understanding of how to embed a culture of evidence use in local government, including development of a logic model for embedding a research culture.
  • Carried out by Newcastle University, in partnership with Southampton University, Queens University Belfast and colleagues in four local authorities; Newcastle City Council, Southampton City Council, Hampshire County Council and Belfast City Council.
  • Completed in September 2019.

The transition of public health responsibilities from the NHS to local government in England offers opportunities to make population health and wellbeing part of the core business – not only of public health departments, but of all departments in local authorities. It creates new opportunities and challenges to ensure the use of evidence is firmly embedded in an environment with a different contextual understanding of, and capacity for, the generation and use of evidence.

The research included:

  • a scoping exercise of the different approaches currently being used to support evidence-informed policy and practice in local government settings
  • development of a logic model for embedding a research culture within local government through a case study approach
  • learning from an embedded researcher working on an arts and health initiative
  • adjusting the logic model and developing recommendations for how the model could be generalised for use elsewhere in England and across different jurisdictions
  • testing the feasibility of approaches to evaluation.

Outputs:

  • a review of embedded research models with a specific focus on learning for embedded research in local government
  • a logic model for of the ‘what, why and how’ of embedding a research culture in local government in which the use of evidence and evaluation is established as usual practice
  • a summary report of the feasibility findings concerning the potential evaluation methods that could be used to measure the impact of local authority champions of research
  • presentation of main findings at The Lancet Public Health Science Conference (2019).

Future work:

  • a UKPRP consortium development grant has been awarded to further advance the project under the title of ‘ENABLE UK', ENABling Local authority evidence-based decision-making across the UK
  • the ENABLE UK consortium will look to deliver evidence-informed 'best practice' models to reduce non-communicable diseases and health inequalities. This will help shape public health infrastructure effectively to maximise population-level health improvement, through system-wide changes, transferable across Local Government throughout the UK
  • the consortium bid will be submitted in December 2020, with work commencing in 2021 if successful.

Contact details

Professor Ashley Adamson
Professor of Public Health Nutrition and NIHR Research Professor, Newcastle University
Ashley.adamson@newcastle.ac.uk

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