About the research
The Centre has been commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust to conduct research on the new public health structures which have been put in place in England since it was announced Public Health England was to be abolished in 2020.
As the current pandemic has shown an effective, well organised accountable public health system is not only key to controlling the spread of a disease – permitting the wider economy and public services to function – but is also vital in addressing growing health inequalities.
To be effective a public health system must have the trust of the public and those who work within in it and there must be a clear of understanding of roles and responsibilities. To achieve its goals, it must also be joined up effectively with the NHS, social care and other parts of central and local government.
Our research will investigate issues of accountability, governance and effectiveness in relation to the creation of the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and the Office of Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) It will involve an examination of publicly available documents relating to the new public health system including its finances, board papers and governance arrangements. It will also involve a series of interviews and a survey of those working within the current public health system in England.
The project outputs
The Centre always aims to produce research which is useful to policy makers and those involved in delivering health and social care and which aids public understanding of complex policy issues. Towards the end of 2022 we will publish a short report which will set out our findings regarding the accountability, governance and effectiveness of the new public health system. We will also set out the key questions about the new system and will outline a set of principles which might be useful in governing the development of the public health system going forward.
Our expertise in this area
The team at the Centre have been working on the structure and organisation of the public health systems in the UK since 2006 when the current Director David Rowland produced a report for the Nuffield Trust looking at the overall structure of public health across the UK. In 2013 the Centre’s analysis of the NHS and the public health system which was created following the abolition of the Health Protection Agency warned of the challenges that it faced in responding to a future pandemic. More recently we have written about the need for greater resilience in the public health system and the need to revise England’s outdated public health laws to make it clearer who is responsible for managing public health emergencies.
The project’s advisory board
Advising the project are Professor David Hunter (University of Newcastle), Professor Peter Littlejohns (Kings College London) Professor David McCoy (United Nations University) Professor Albert Weale (UCL) and Professor Martin McKee (LSHTM).
You may be interested to read the outcome of the recent research by Peter Littlejohns, David Hunter and Albert Weale into the abolition of Public Health England here which we have used to inform our current research project which you can find here.
If you have any further questions about the research or would like to be kept informed about the outcomes, please do get in touch here: [email protected]