With local government assuming responsibility for public health and the wider health landscape set to change significantly as a result of the Health and Social Care Bill, public health is at a crossroads. This report explores the key opportunities and challenges facing public health in its new landscape.

The decision to devolve primary responsibility for public health to local government represents a significant shift in the way in which public health is configured and services are delivered locally. Local authorities are being charged with bringing together partners and coordinating action across the field of public health. Integration is a key driver for the current changes and its realisation will arguably be the biggest challenge over the coming decade.

These fundamental changes provide an excellent opportunity to rethink our approach and to develop a strategic focus on improving access to health and improving health outcomes.

This report highlights seven specific opportunities presented by the changing public health landscape:

  1. To empower individuals and communities to drive the public health agenda locally
  2. To take public health out into community settings in order to more effectively target delivery of public health initiatives
  3. To learn from and promote what works
  4. To strengthen accountability in public health
  5. To balance local and national priorities
  6. To build genuinely broad-based local public health partnerships
  7. To secure a long-term political consensus on public health