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The return of public health to local government is probably the biggest single transfer of new responsibilities for decades. Many in the sector are justifiably excited by the change though analysts are already flagging emerging challenges. At this time of transition, NLGN presents a new essay collection of leading politicians from around the country reflecting on how they plan to approach their new duties.
Public health is much more than a question of providing specialist services: the task is to bring an active concern for health outcomes into the mainstream, across housing, planning, licensing and social care. Ultimately, it is about mobilising the whole council and many of its partners to create the conditions for the public to adopt healthier lifestyles.
This new era for public health represents localism in action, so unsurprisingly the essays offer a wide variety of perspectives: from the district council which has no formal power, but has set up its own health and wellbeing partnership, to the city leaders looking to encourage the consumption of nutritious, locally-grown food.