Upgrading public policy to support public health work
Detailed description of the Good Practice
A County Health Development Plan (CHDP) is needed and produced to give the whole organisation and all the different units within Stockholm County the same opportunities to deliver quality service. The overall objective with the plan is good and equal health for all in the county. This is also linked to the national goals of public health, goals for a healthy environment and sustainable development – future generations are expected to have the same equality of life as today’s generation.
All units within Stockholm’s County illustrate how their operations affect the public’s health, and they need to create plans to realize the overall goals for the CHDP. The plans undergo evaluation within the annual reports both for the units and for the county as a whole. The plans need to be continuously up-dated. The guiding principle and the action plan of the county, supporting the CHDP, need to be noticed and followed. The Development Plan is divided in three parts:
Goals: conditions in life, environment, conditions in the workplace, habits in life, mental health
Background : summarised as to be the factors of health and factors of risk
Strategies in short: measures outlined by (all different units within) the county regarding factors of health
(http://www.folkhalsoguiden.se/StartAmnesomraden.aspx?id=333 Folkhälsorapport, 2003)
In 2005, the Stockholm County Council established a new public health policy and plan for its population of 1.9 million. The County Council has more than 20 policies and plans such as food policy, implementation of children’s rights, social security policy, environmental policy, alcohol and drug policy, purchasing policy and many more. Having this many different policies requires a joint approach for defining synergy.
In spring 2007, the Centre for Public Health (the County Councils department for public health issues) reviewed all the County Council policies and plans to identify the ones with the most influence on public health. The result is a guiding document that cross-sectionally outlines how the County Council can support public health through the various policies and plans that influence the determinants of health. The guiding document will be used as the operational tool. It will facilitate and ensure that relevant aspects are taken into account when planning public health efforts within the various organizations and policy areas of the County Council. The document has been presented to the politicians responsible and strategic staff members and also disseminated through newsletters and web sites.
We strongly believe that a review of public policies from a public health perspective with a follow up intervention as described above is a good way of reaching new partners and widen support for public health work. Working with health determinants must include a wide range of public sectors. Finding a way to work through other policy fields is a prerequisite for success. Experiences from our work leads us to the conclusion that it is possible to do two things at the same time.
During the review we discovered that a lot of work within the County Council was carried out in ”silos”. Meaning that instead of working together, using resources in an efficient manor, administrators were working in vertical processes not supporting each other. The discussion with policy administrators during the implementation process was successful. In communication with the different policy administrators new ideas were born and understanding of what public health work can be grew with both parties. The tool is free to be used by all sectors and all employees within the County Council. We have already seen a variety of applications that we were not aware of when planning this project.
More Details of the Good Practice
Coordinator of Healthy City Stockholm County
Center for Public Health
Stockholm County Council
S-118 91 Stockholm
Tel: +46 8 737 35 20
Fax: +46 8 517 78 099
Data sources and references
Baltic Region Healthy Cities Association
WHO Collaborating Centre for Healthy Cities and Urban Health in the Baltic Region