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How six local councils are using design to tackle public health challenges

How six local councils are using design to tackle public health challenges

27 February 2018

With seven councils across the north of England already beginning to use design to affect positive change across their respective regions, six more councils from the south of England are now embarking upon our Design in the Public Sector programme.

Each year Design in the Public Sector, delivered in partnership with the Local Government Association (LGA), focuses on a differently themed challenge for councils to address, with previous themes including housing, children’s services, adult social care and criminal justice. This year the programme is focusing on using design to solve challenges around the theme of public health by working collaboratively with partners, as well as the local community.

Councillor Paul Bettison, Chairman of the LGA’s Improvement and Innovation Board, said: “We recognise that there is a growing movement of design thinking and innovation in public services and the LGA is keen to equip more councils with the necessary tools and knowledge. Public health is an area within local government being asked to deliver prevention strategies and improve the health of our communities, and we are pleased to be working with councils to support them in learning design tools and techniques to help achieve this.”

Southwark Council is focusing on using design to tackle undiagnosed heart disease, which drives premature death, health inequalities and increased healthcare costs.

Cllr Maisie Anderson, Southwark Council Cabinet Member for Public Health and Social Regenerations said: “This is a really exciting opportunity for Southwark Council. By better utilising new digital technologies we can make a real difference to the health of our residents. I am extremely proud that Southwark is one of only six boroughs in the south of England to be accepted onto this programme; it is a testament to our forward-thinking approach to tackling complex public health issues.”

West Sussex County Council are also keen to improve the design, impact and effectiveness of sexual health contraception information and services for young people under the age of eighteen, and in particular improve positive behaviours in its most vulnerable teenage population.

Camden and Islington Public Health team at Islington Council hope to understand the needs of the mildly frail over sixty-five age group to identify solutions of supported independence and prevent the progression of frailty.

Similarly, Epping Forest District Council are also focusing on their frail population and reducing unnecessary A&Es attendances by the over 75s living in the district. The impact of addressing their challenge aims to improve the overall service within their local A&E, but may also provide A&Es across the country with an approach to tackling avoidable attendances.

Huntingdonshire District Council are tackling significant levels of obesity in specific areas of their district, which despite various initiatives and interventions are not improving outcomes their residents.

London Borough of Bexley are entering the programme with a vision of developing a co-production model focused on prevention and early intervention that will ultimately foster genuine partnership working across the local health and care system in the area with an initial focus during the programme of addressing social isolation and loneliness in Bexley.

Design in Public Sector is a 16-week intensive programme delivered in partnership with the Local Government Association (LGA). It aims to enable public health professionals to use design to improve health outcomes and work collaboratively with partners as well as the local community, with the health of the nation at the core of their agenda.

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