Place-centred public health systems have the potential to deliver improvements in health and reduce health inequalities if they can effectively mobilise the resources available to those places for efficient and effective actions. These resources include public funds invested in services, other cash transfers to households as well as the resources households and businesses receive through the local economy. Economic recession and spending restrictions have reduced available resources – though different localities are affected in different ways, which has implications for health inequalities.
Given the heightened constraints on budgets, practitioners in LAs have identified an urgent need for evidence on which investment approaches are likely to be the most effective in a given context in terms of impact on health and reducing health inequalities. Currently this evidence is lacking, and that is why WP2 aims to address this gap, through the exploitation of natural policy experiments, made possible by the existence of local variation across England in how available resources are invested and how this has changed over time. These variations in investment approaches provide rich potential for natural policy experiments that can be evaluated for their impacts on health outcomes and the social determinants of health and could inform more effective local policy-making in the future.
WP2 aims to answer the research question: what place-centred LA resource investment approaches are effective at improving health and reducing health inequalities, within current budget constraints?
We will meet this aim by achieving the following objectives
1. Creating a unique dataset mapping the changing pattern of place-centred investment of LA resources for health and health inequalities, across England
2. Using the dataset to evaluate the impact of contrasting local government investment strategies on health outcomes and the determinants of health, including a study of children’s services co-produced with the CYP programme. .
3. Identifying areas that have experienced better than expected trends in health-related outcomes, given the amount of resources they have available, as a basis for further in-depth qualitative work in WP4 and additional evaluative studies.