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Addressing health inequalities in times of austerity: implementation of a place-based approach in multitiered local government.

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Buswell, M 
Coker, J 
Buckner, S 


AIMS: This article focuses on how local authorities in England are tackling wider determinants of health and inequalities in their population's outcomes while budgets for public services are diminishing. METHODS: It reports the experience from one case study engaged in rolling out a devolved, place- and asset-based strategy over multiple tiers of local government. Relating these findings to relevant social theory, we draw out aspects of context and mechanisms of change. We offer plausible hypotheses for the experiences observed, which supports transferability and implementation of place-based strategies in other local authority areas struggling with similar challenges. RESULTS: Findings highlight the importance of high-level and political buy-in, as well as the role of the COVID-19 pandemic as a potential catalyst to rollout. Creating the foundations for a new, place-based working was important for achieving coherence among partners around what local government was trying to achieve. These included investment in infrastructure, both relational and tangible inputs such as organisational and human resources, to establish the conditions for systemic change towards early intervention and prevention. CONCLUSION: This study identified clear foundations for place-based action, plus enablers and barriers to significant transformation of practice towards asset-based approaches between local authorities, partners and the public.



asset-based, inequalities, place-based, realist theory, system-change

Journal Title

Perspect Public Health

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SAGE Publications
Department of Health (via National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)) (unknown)