Health and Wellbeing Board

What are Health and Wellbeing boards?

Health and Wellbeing Boards, introduced by the government from April 2012, are in charge of health in an area. They are run by Local Authorities, like Islington Council and are made up of decision-makers who plan health services in the Borough.

Health and wellbeing boards are an important feature of the NHS reforms and are key to promoting greater integration of health and local government services.  The boards will help give communities a greater say in understanding and addressing their local health and social care needs. 

Board members collaborate to understand their local community’s needs, agree priorities and encourage commissioners to work in a more joined up way. As a result, patients and the public should experience more joined-up services from the NHS and local councils in the future.

From April 2012, health and wellbeing boards were required to operate effectively in ‘shadow’ form, taking on their statutory/legal functions from April 2013.

What does the one in Islington do?

  • The Health and wellbeing board sets the strategy for ensuring services are available (commissioned) to the population of Islington across health, public health and social care. 
  • It includes democratically elected representatives and patient representatives who are involved in commissioning decisions alongside the commissioners across health and social care. The boards will also provide a forum for challenge, discussion and the involvement of local people.
  • The board brings together Islington Clinical Commissioning Group and Islington Council to develop a shared understanding of the health and wellbeing needs of the community. As part of this a Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) and a joint strategy has been developed to understand how the needs discovered can be best addressed. This includes recommendations for services they commission together (joint commissioning) and integrating services across health and care. This means that services will feel more ‘seamless’ for patients.
  • Through undertaking the JSNA, the board drives local commissioning of health care, social care and public health to create a more effective and responsive local health and care system. Other services that impact on health and wellbeing such as housing and education provision are also addressed.

Who will sit on the board?

All health and wellbeing boards will be accountable to local people through having local councillors as members of the board. The board will be made up, as a minimum of: 

  • one local elected representative
  • a representative of our local Healthwatch organisation
  • a representative of each local clinical commissioning group
  • the local authority director for adult social services
  • the local authority director for children’s services
  • the director of public health for the local authority

But local boards will be free to expand their membership to include a wide range of perspectives and expertise, such as representatives from the charity or voluntary sectors.

Each health and wellbeing board will have a local Healthwatch representative member. Local Healthwatch will have a formal role of involving the public in major decision making around health and social care and its work is expected to feed into that of the health and wellbeing boards.

What are our aims?

We have developed a framework that all members are signed up to and agreed the four key strategic outcomes we all want to achieve.

  • Ensuring every child has the best start in life,
  • Preventing and managing long term conditions to extend both length and quality of life and reduce health inequalities,
  • Improving mental health and wellbeing, and
  • Delivering high quality, efficient services within the resources available.

What is a Joint Strategic Needs Assessment?

A Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) is a report about health and social care issues affecting the many diverse communities in the district. It says:

  • what is being done in the district
  • what should be done, and
  • what could be done differently

The information in this report is regularly updated throughout the year so it is as accurate as possible. The things written in the JSNA will help decision-makers what health and social care services need to be prioritised in the district.

Related links

Healthwatch Islington

Healthwatch - Department of Health