The University of Sheffield
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Understanding and influencing the national policy context to deliver a fairer start for all?

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posted on 2019-10-16, 08:05 authored by Amy Barnes, Michelle Black

There is a lot of political attention on early years across the UK; with all countries championing a prevention approach to early child development – but are we actually talking about the same issue? Are we all talking about a fairer start for all?

We will discuss this question with reference to a study we recently completed looking at early years policy in the four countries of the UK. We will discuss similarities in policy and systems, but also highlight differences; which, we suggest, implies different policy understandings of what ‘the problem’ and ‘causes’ of difference are in early child development. While we recognise much policy happens in ‘local places’ (e.g. through commissioning PH services), we will discuss how our recent review work highlights the substantive role of policy action at central executive (parliamentary/assembly) level in all UK countries in addressing wider determinants of early child development. Influencing at this central level is an important opportunity for public health practitioners, yet securing central-level political action often requires (amongst other things) coalitions of stakeholders who share similar beliefs, collectively identify with one another, and collectively try to frame dialogue, use evidence and advocate in ways that resonate with policy makers and the public. Drawing on the conclusions, we will ask the audience whether they think this type of coalition or collective public health identity exists within or across the UK PH workforce? And how we can strengthen the power of PH voices in national policy to deliver a fairer start for all?

Presentation made at PHE conference 2019:

Title: Understanding and influencing the national policy context to deliver a fairer start for all?

Authors: Michelle Black - University of Sheffield; Amy Barnes - University of Sheffield

Session: Place-based working to improve outcomes for children and young people - 2,

11/09/2019, 09:00 - 10:00


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