We kicked this month off with the release of our policy paper on Community Spirit and an accompanying Framework. We are really proud of the collaboration that helped this project come to fruition. We had incredible support from the Health Foundation and we developed the Framework and report in partnership with Locality.The Community Spirit Framework is a toolkit that recognises the importance of community spirit for health and wellbeing and provides practical ways for community groups to assess and improve community spirit in their area. In the accompanying policy paper, Socially Distant? Community Spirit in the Age of Covid-19, we revealed that whilst the public felt that the first Covid-19 lockdown brought local people together, they were worried that these levels of connection and community would not continue without investment and strategic planning in local areas.

The team also submitted RSPH’s response to the Health Index consultation. Our response was put together as part of another collaboration with the Health Foundation, who helped us to run three roundtable sessions with over 40 expert stakeholders. In our response, we strongly support the introduction of a Health Index as a way to measure the nation’s health, and made recommendations for how the tool could be used and refined. Responses to consultations can heavily influence the outcomes of public health projects, and this development of a Health Index is something we believe is incredibly important for understanding and addressing health inequalities.  

Another important consultation this month is our Gambling Health Alliance’s response to the Gambling Act Review. A lot of preparation goes into publishing our response to reviews, and this one was no different. We were pleased to jointly host a session on the public health approach to gambling with the Gambling Related Harm APPG which is chaired by Carolyn Harris MP and Peers for Gambling Reform. We also carried out some polling to make sure our response takes the public’s opinion as well as our expertise into account. We are excited to continue to work with stakeholders in Government once the consultation has closed, to push for the changes to gambling laws we want to see. You can find out more about our gambling and public health work on our Gambling Health Alliance hub, where we publish blogs from members, host our gambling health policy reports and have a newsletter signup form.

In case you missed it, we recommend taking a look at our reaction to the Chancellor’s Budget where we expressed concerns that with much of the budget rightly going towards the Covid-19 recovery, sustainable funding for public health has once again been side-lined. As we wait to hear more about the future of the public health system in England, we were pleased to host a roundtable on public health reform. The changes to public health will no doubt be influenced by funding allocations and we will be keeping a close eye on the development of the new public health agency.