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Public Policy and Health

Evaluating the Leadership Role of Health and Wellbeing Boards

Evaluating the leadership role of health and wellbeing boards as drivers of health improvement and integrated care across England.

(PI: David Hunter with Co-Investigators: Shelina Visram (both Durham University); Rachael Finn, Warwick University, Jennifer Gosling, LSHTM, Lee Adams and Amanda Forrest, (both independent consultants); and Research Associate: Neil Perkins, Durham University; Administrator Lisa Monkhouse)

Since April 2013, each local authority in England is required to have a Health and Wellbeing Board (HWB). These Boards bring together partners from the council and NHS, along with public representation, in an effort to ensure that local health needs drive local decision-making. There is considerable optimism about the potential for HWBs to deliver effective partnership working in order to improve health and offer better integration of health and social care. However, little evidence exists to show that similar partnerships have been effective and there is concern that power will not be redistributed in the new system, meaning that the views of local people may not be heard.

Our aim is to evaluate how well HWBs in England function, and whether this helps HWBs achieve their objectives to extend democracy, support shared decision-making and promote integrated service provision to improve health and wellbeing, reduce inequalities, and achieve better quality care. The study will run from 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2016.

We will explore factors that help or hinder HWBs in fulfilling their role, and work with policy and practice partners to share examples of good practice. Field work will include a national survey of HWBs, and in-depth case studies in six selected local authorities. We will run a series of workshops and events to share good practice. Ethical issues concern confidentiality and safekeeping on data and appropriate University policies will be observed. We anticipate our work resulting in improvements to partnership working and decision-making processes by demonstrating what works well for different populations.

The team includes expertise in local government, public health and NHS research, leadership and management theory and practice, and public service user engagement and involvement. A project advisory group will provide guidance to the project.

page updated 09/03/2016


National Conference assessing the impact of HWBs

Date: 26th September 2017

Time: 10am-3.45pm

Venue: Palatine Centre (Durham University), Stockton Road, Durham, DH1 3LE

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Contact Information

Dr Shelina Visram


Miss Lisa Monkhouse

Research Administrator
Tel: 0191 3340360