Trends in evidence use in public health decision-making

A new CLAHRC publication offers valuable insight into the types of evidence used by decision-makers working in public health. In 2013, responsibility for public health services and planning shifted from the “health” boundary to local authority control. These services can range from health checks to open access sexual health.

CLAHRC researchers examined English local public health decision-making in a new review of what evidence is used and how by those planning, designing and commissioning services.

The review, published in a new paper in the Journal Implementation Science identifies three clear trends in evidence use

  • the primacy of local evidence
  • the important role of local experts in providing evidence and knowledge, and
  • the high value placed on local evaluation evidence despite the varying methodological rigour.

Barriers to the use of research evidence included issues around access and availability of applicable research evidence, and indications that the use of evidence could be perceived as a bureaucratic process.

This is part of a wider project entitled Exploring decision-making processes and knowledge requirements in public health

 

Read the full paper

Kneale et al. Implementation Science (2017) 12:53
DOI 10.1186/s13012-017-0577-9
The use of evidence in English local public health decision-making: a systematic scoping review

Dylan Kneale

Dylan completed an ESRC-funded PhD at the Institute of Education (UCL) examining transitions to parenthood and a Postdoctoral Fellowship examining housing transitions, both using birth cohort data. Prior to returning to the IOE in late 2014, he was Head of Policy and Research at Relate (a charity specialising in the delivery of counselling and promotion of mental wellbeing) and Head of Research at the International Longevity Centre-UK (ILC-UK), a think-tank exploring the implications of an ageing society. At the IOE, his research broadly involves synthesising evidence for social policy and developing methods to enhance the use of evidence in decision-making, including exploring the potential of large datasets in informing social policy. Substantively he is interested in issues encompassing demography, public health and social exclusion.

Dr Charlotte Woodhead

Charlotte completed her PhD at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, exploring the mental health of women in the UK Armed Forces. Her research and interests since then have focused on local health inequalities; for example, in sexual minority mental health; in the physical health of patients with serious mental illnesses; and, in the residential mobility of individuals with common mental disorders. Charlotte is currently a Research Associate working as an ‘embedded researcher’ within Haringey Council, as part of a research initiative organised by the NIHR CLAHRC North Thames to develop an evaluation framework for the provision of welfare advice hubs in primary care.