Health and Wellbeing Boards

In April 2013, local authorities will fully assume the responsibility for local health improvement currently held by primary care trusts.

Health and Wellbeing Boards will bring together organisations who buy services across the NHS, public health, social care and children’s services to plan services for their area.

The main function of Health and Wellbeing Boards will be to:

  • assess the needs of the local population and lead the statutory joint strategic needs assessment
  • promote integration and partnership across areas, including joined-up commissioning plans across the NHS, social care and public health
  • support joint commissioning and pooled budget arrangements, where all parties agree this makes sense
  • undertake a scrutiny role in relation to major service redesign.

Homeless children and health

Children who are homeless or in bad housing can be seriously affected by their housing situation. It can impact upon their health, physical safety, enjoyment and achievement in life, their schooling and their life chances.

Children living in temporary accommodation, or moving a lot, may not be registered with a local GP or be known to local health services. Children living in housing that is damp or overcrowded can experience health problems such as respiratory issues or slow physical growth.

One of the priorities for Health and Wellbeing Boards is to improve the health of the poorest and to address health inequalities. There is a clear link between deprivation, bad housing, homelessness and health problems.

Recommendations and publications

Health and Wellbeing Boards must ensure that they take the needs of homeless and badly housed children and young people into consideration in their planning and commissioning activities.

There are a number of publications that outline the importance of housing to public health and suggest ways that Health and Wellbeing Boards can engage with this issue:

Housing Learning and Improvement Network – Public health and housing briefing (pdf)

National Housing Federation – Invest in housing, invest in health (pdf)

Chartered Institute of Housing – Localism: delivering integration across housing, health and care (pdf)

Northern Housing Consortium – A foot in the door: a guide to engaging housing and health (pdf)

St Mungo’s and Homeless Link – Improving the health of the poorest, fastest (pdf)

You can also find a wide range of information on homelessness, housing problems and sources of support and advice throughout Shelter’s website.

Back to top