Agenda item

Public Health Dashboard

The report informs the Board of the recent publication of the Public Health England (PHE) Dashboard and Brent’s performance as measured by the dashboard.



Dr Melanie Smith (Director of Public Health) introduced the report which informed the Board of the recent publication of the Public Health England (PHE) Dashboard along with Brent’s performance, as measured against the dashboard.


The Board noted that the dashboard contained eight indicators which covered a range of public health service areas on which the local authority would lead and also contained a new measure in terms of the ranking of each authority.  Brent’s performance was comparable to all other upper tier local authorities with similar levels of deprivation and their nearest statistical neighbouring authorities.  In terms of specific performance, Brent was performing well in relation to five indicators with a need to improve performance identified in relation to the remaining indicators on childhood obesity; best start in life and air quality.  These were already areas in which the need for action had been identified with the specific measures developed in response detailed within section 3 of the report.  The Board also noted that whilst many of the indicators were composite (representing a summary measure from a number of different indicators) there were some more local indicators specifically relevant to Brent not included.


The Board noted the strong performance specifically highlighted in relation to Alcohol and Drug Treatment. The service had recently been recommissioned and was subject to a new lead provider but it was anticipated that any resulting impact on performance would be minimal.


Councillor Farah (as Chair) thanked Dr Melanie Smith for introducing the report and then invited comments, with the following issues raised:


(a)     Dr Ketana Halai sought clarification on the decision taken by the local authority in relation to the funding of the NHS Healthcheck programme.  In response Dr Melanie Smith confirmed that whilst funding had not been withdrawn measures had been put in place to encourage more effective targeting of the programme.


(b)     Councillor Tatler took the opportunity to highlight the close links between the review currently being undertaken on the Local Plan and how this would impact on the delivery of the more strategic aims relating to health within the Mayor for London’s Environment Strategy.  Dr Melanie Smith advised the Board that these links had already been recognised with an increasing level of joint work between Public Health and the Council’s Planning Policy and Development Control Teams.  As an example she referred to the joint work undertaken to prevent the development of hot food takeaway premises in the immediate vicinity of local schools.


(c)     In relation to the action being taken to improve performance around childhood obesity, Dr MC Patel sought further details on the proposed use of the £195k awarded to Brent under the Healthy Pupils Capital Fund.  In response Dr Melanie Smith advised that the funding was for use by schools who were being invited to submit bids for one off capital projects designed to improve not just the physical but also mental health of pupils.  Whilst GPs were not directly involved in the bid process under this funding stream, she advised that suggestions would still be welcomed regarding potential use of the funding.


(d)     In terms of the action being taken to improve performance around air quality Dr MC Patel sought details on the key issues identified for action and potential impact arising from the extensive building works being undertaken across the borough.  In response Dr Melanie Smith supported by Councillor Tatler advised that the main issue remained vehicle exhaust fumes with building works closely regulated and the Council working with developers to support the ethical construction guidelines.  The benefits of encouraging housing development were also highlighted in terms of their wider public health impacts.


In terms of vehicle emissions and traffic congestion the Council were actively supporting the aims within the Mayor for London’s Transport Plan by seeking wherever possible to reduce car ownership and encourage greater use of public transport and other “greener” travel initiatives such as cycling.  In addition the Council were continuing to work closely with TfL in order to encourage and support the roll out of their electric bus fleet and more effective use of the diesel bus fleet.


(e)     Moving on to focus on the action being taken around performance in relation to childhood obesity, Councillor Farah (as Chair) was keen to explore the attempts being made to raise awareness within certain communities and amongst parents around the issues needing to be addressed.  In response Dr Melanie Smith advised that the need to engage and work with families had been recognised as part of the overall approach, with work being focussed around the support and information available through the health visiting and Children’s Centres.  In addition sessions were being delivered through the Junior Citizenship Scheme specifically around sugar awareness accessed by Year 6 pupils across the borough.


As no further issues were raised the Chair thanked Dr Melanie Smith for her report and it was RESOLVED that the Board note the performance by Brent in relation to the Public Health England Dashboard.

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