Working to make government more effective

Insight paper

Cross-government co-ordination to improve health and reduce inequalities

The opportunities for both the centre of government and individual departments to take a more ambitious whole-government approach to improving health.

Healthy food, including vegetables
Improving population health requires policy action across a wide waterfront, including access to healthy food.

Stagnating life expectancy and growing health inequalities will be one of the big policy challenges facing the next government, whatever its political composition. Experts have long established that improving population health requires policy action across a wide waterfront, improving the “building blocks” of health – from housing to jobs, to access to education and healthy food. But no government since the 2000s has implemented a sustained cross-government programme to improve public health and reduce inequalities.

In June 2023, the Institute for Government and the Health Foundation jointly organised a roundtable bringing together experts and officials with experience working in cross-government roles. This session discussed the barriers to more effective cross-government co-ordination, and the opportunities for both the centre of government and individual departments to take a more ambitious whole-government approach to improving health and reducing inequalities. This paper is a summary of that discussion.
 

Public figures
Steve Barclay
Publisher
Institute for Government

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