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A shared and demonstrable commitment to a preventative approach, which focuses on promoting good health and wellbeing for all citizens.

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Definitions and duties

Primary prevention: Taking action to reduce the incidence of disease and health problems within the population, either through universal measures that reduce lifestyle risks and their causes or by targeting high-risk groups.

Secondary prevention: Systematically detecting the early stages of disease and intervening before full symptoms develop – for example, prescribing statins to reduce cholesterol and taking measures to reduce high blood pressure.

Tertiary prevention: Softening the impact of an ongoing illness or injury that has lasting effects. This is done by helping people manage long-term, often-complex health problems and injuries (e.g. chronic diseases, permanent impairments) in order to improve as much as possible their ability to function, their quality of life and their life expectancy.

Wider determinants of health: These are the social, economic or environmental factors affecting health, such as housing, employment, education, or parks and green spaces

The King's Fund: Broader determinants of health

Councils and public health: Local authorities were given renewed responsibility for public health as part of the 2012 health and social care reforms.

CCGs: Commissioning for prevention is one potentially transformative change that Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) can make, together with Health and Wellbeing Boards and other local partners

The Care Act: Under the Care Act, local authorities make sure that people who live in their areas:

  • receive services that prevent their care needs from becoming more serious, or delay the impact of their needs
  • can get the information and advice they need to make good decisions about care and support
  • have a range of provision of high quality, appropriate services to choose
  • Care Act factsheets: information on the Care Act.

Frequently asked questions

What is the evidence base

  • The evidence base for prevention and public health is growing; Public Health England and others have wide range of tools to demonstrate return on investment (see below)
  • Collecting data from local services to show what is effective and what produces cost savings in the short term and upstream
  • Regional, national and international evidence can also support investment cases

Case studies and examples

LGA support and resources

Selected tools and resources from our partners