The World Health Organisation defines Health in All Policies as:
“An approach to public policies across sectors that systematically takes into account the health implications of decisions, seeks synergies, and avoids harmful health impacts in order to improve population health and health equity.”
Central to adopting a HiAP approach is recognising and addressing the social determinants of health which are key drivers of health and wellbeing and health inequalities. These are largely determined by living conditions and wider social, economic, environmental, cultural and political factors.
HiAP supports improved health and social outcomes and reduces inequity through collaboration between all those who have a responsibility to support and/or deliver public health across all sectors.
The Director of Public Health (DPH) Annual Report 2020/21 and Covid-19 Health Impact Assessment highlighted that to improve the health and wellbeing of our residents, we need to tackle inequalities in health.
The DPH Annual Report 2020/2021 recommended the adoption of a HiAP approach to tackle these inequalities and improve health and wellbeing outcomes. The recommendation was endorsed at the Health and Wellbeing Board in March 2021.
Adopting a HiAP approach aims to make health everyone’s business and to support people to understand the connections between policies and programmes and health and wellbeing. The approach focusses on areas within the wider determinants of health including climate and sustainability, transport, education, and employment.
The HiAP toolkit brings together a range of resources that can guide and support you in applying a Health in All Policies approach to your work project/programme/strategy.
There are three recommended broad approaches to HiAP:
- Focus on specific public health issues (e.g. obesity) and identify policies with major impact
- Focus on a key policy area with significant health impacts (e.g. transport, housing) and work with relevant department/sector
- Focus on windows of opportunity that can potentially provide success for all partners.
There is no one "right" way to implement a HiAP as it can be adapted to meet changing needs and evolving commissioning landscapes of a local authority.
We’re here to help
The Public Health Team can offer guidance on Health in All Policies and using the tools described below.