The context in which public health strategy is developed and services are commissioned has shifted dramatically since 2013. Decisions previously made within the NHS are now being taken by public health teams within Local Authorities, arguably bringing a whole new political dimension to public health decision-making. The shifting culture and context of decision-making means that as generators and synthesisers of evidence, we are interested in supporting public health decision-makers to continue to make informed and judicious evidence-based choices. This means that not only do we need to understand the new culture and practices of evidence use, but we also need to critically examine whether our own research outputs are fit for purpose in supporting decision-making in this new climate.
A key contribution of our RPT to the wider project (Exploring decision-making processes and knowledge requirements in public health) includes reviewing the literature to understand evidence-use practice and drivers, which will provide a framework for the overall project and ensure we build upon, rather than replicate, previous initiatives.
Successful completion of this work will improve our understanding of the evidence needs of public health decision-makers, which ultimately could lead to better public health outcomes.
Principal investigator: Professor James Thomas, UCL Institute of Education
Other project team members: Dr Dylan Kneale, UCL Institute of Education; Dr Antonio Rojas-García, UCL Institute of Epidemiology & Health
Start date: April 2015
Partners and collaborators involved: UCL