JSNA toolkit: a springboard for action

This new guidance and best practice toolkit entitled: ‘Joint strategic needs assessment: a springboard for action' has been produced by Local Government (LG) Improvement and Development for all members of new shadow health and wellbeing boards.

The new requirement for health and wellbeing boards to lead enhanced joint strategic needs assessments (JSNAs) and joint health and wellbeing strategies (JHWS) will help open up three major areas.

First and foremost, the boards will bring the major commissioners of public services for local people around a single table. For example, local government (including public health) and the NHS will be organised around commissioning consortia. Where possible they will work together to secure the health and wellbeing services which meet public health needs and are most important to local people. An effective JSNA will help local leadership to decide on priorities in a more joined-up and efficient way.

Second, it is dependent on local discretion to widen participation in health and wellbeing boards to district councils, the community and voluntary sector and to other agencies with a major contribution to make to promoting health and wellbeing. Social determinants of health and wellbeing such as housing, economic development, and spatial planning are well documented. But only the health and wellbeing board has the potential to bring them together around a common theme. A robust JSNA will identify the scope for these contributions, providing a coherent single needs assessment for all services and the opportunity to maximise investment locally.

Third, local democratic accountability and the participation of HealthWatch are vital in implementing these changes. This provides an opportunity to develop a much stronger relationship with the people in local communities who, in turn, can shape the balance of services. A strong JSNA will facilitate the right balance between a quantitative summary around local health, and local views about what should be done. There is a role for JSNA to play in giving power to both individuals and communities.

See toolkit in full here:
JSNA: a springboard for action (PDF, 48 pages, 619KB)

Understanding local communities and health data

We are also launching a publication looking at how to use the data generated from JSNA and best practice examples from Sheffield, Calderdale, Torbay, Manchester, Nottingham and Chesterfield. This will be launched on 8 June 2011 with an online discussion on our Communities of Practice resource. To join this site you will need to use the following link:

Healthy Communities landing page

Issues that will be covered in the discussion are:

1. How wide should the scope of JSNA be?

2. Should JSNAs do more to explore what is working well and not so well?

3. Should JSNA teams encourage and welcome contributions of intelligence from a wider range of organisations.

4. How could resources be found? Would such work be beneficial to other areas of policy and decision making?

To view the discussion taking place on 8 June from 11.00 am - 1.00 pm and access the publication, please use the following link:

Joint strategic needs assessment - understanding local communities and health data

31 May 2011

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