Public health report puts spotlight on key role played by local organisations
This year’s report from Gloucestershire’s Director of Public Health highlights the essential role large organisations can play locally to improve health and wellbeing.
The pandemic has shone a light on the value of our local communities and the places in which we live. We have seen how quickly the community and organisations have come together to provide support for those who need it.
Large organisations with a long-term commitment to the local area, often called ‘anchor institutions’, have the potential to tackle some of the longstanding inequalities in our local communities, as well as helping to drive economic improvement as we continue our recovery from COVID-19. They have the ability to improve people’s health and wellbeing through their actions, influencing the health of their own employees as well as the wider community.
This year’s Director of Public Health report ‘Sources of strength - securing Gloucestershire’s health and wellbeing through an anchor institutions approach’ focuses on five key areas where large organisations, public, private and voluntary, can add value. They are:
• Employment – looks at the impact of organisations recruiting and retaining local staff, particularly those from more disadvantaged backgrounds
• Procurement and commissioning – examines how goods and services can be purchased to support social and environmental aims, as well as the local economy
• Buildings and capital – shows the importance of organisations making their spaces available for community use, and how they can support access to affordable housing
• Environment – shares how organisations can help Gloucestershire meet its carbon neutral targets, as well as supporting improvements in air quality and the local environment
• Partnering in place – highlights the benefits of focusing working in partnership with the local community and across organisations in Gloucestershire.
The report encourages local organisations to think proactively about what more they can do for our local community and help drive focus on levelling up in Gloucestershire. It shares current case studies from the county council, NHS, Police and others to demonstrate the benefits of an anchor institutions approach.
Gloucestershire’s Health and Wellbeing Board have already agreed to ten principles which set out publicly how member organisations will act as anchor institutions for the local community going forward. The report outlines recommendations for the next steps of the county’s journey to making these principles a reality.
Professor Sarah Scott, executive director of adult social care and public health at Gloucestershire County Council said: “We recognise the important contribution which public, private and voluntary organisations make to the local community, especially during COVID-19.
“I would encourage all organisations to read the report and pledge their commitment to the anchor institution principles. By working together to address the five key areas, we can add real long term value to tackle health inequalities in Gloucestershire and improve the health and wellbeing of residents.”
A copy of the report is available to read here