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Many factors affect health and wellbeing, improving Scotland's health is not the responsibility of any one organisation or group of people. As we all have a role to play, reform aims to influence how we work together to improve health.

National and local government

Public health reform is a partnership between Scottish Government and COSLA with a strong focus on

  • tackling the socio economic determinants of poor health outcomes
  • supporting a shift towards preventing ill health in the planning and delivery of public services.

National government will have an important role in ensuring that improving the public’s health is increasingly at the centre of all national policy and strategies.

Local government will give more attention to addressing health outcomes across all of its functions and apply evidence of what works to local decision making, and to the development of local policy and strategy.

Local government is ideally placed to play a strong leadership role for the public’s health. They will work with communities, third sector organisations and public health teams to engage and empower citizens to tackle Scotland’s public health priorities.

Local partnerships

Community Planning and Health and Social Care Partnerships will be enablers of change. They will increasingly work with public health teams and communities to realise the reform ambitions for whole system working to improve the public's health, by developing local solutions to local public health challenges. Scotland’s public health priorities will be key to supporting this collaboration.

Local service providers will work more closely with communities to plan and deliver integrated services that meet the needs of people who use them. They will apply data and evidence to their planning and delivery in ways that empower citizens and help develop communities that improve and protect the public’s health.

Specialist Public Health Workforce

The Specialist Public Health Workforce will work closely with colleagues from communities, partnerships, local government and national government, to increasingly provide support in ways that

  • support improvements in policy and how we plan and deliver services
  • identify what works in improving the public’s health
  • make data available and accessible so partners can plan and deliver services based on local public health intelligence.

Making data available in accessible formats will also support communities gather insights into local population health challenges so they can fully engage in decision making and develop local solutions.


Communities will play an important leadership role in improving the public’s health, actively taking ownership of health outcomes in their local area. They will increasingly have access to data and information to inform their understanding of the factors that impact on health outcomes. This will enable them to engage meaningfully in local decision making.

Communities will be able to influence all services that impact on the public’s health and make more informed decisions about how

  • resources are used to fund local solutions to local health challenges
  • services are planned and delivered to help citizens manage their own health conditions.

Third sector

The third sector will be an important catalyst for change, working with national and local stakeholders to put the public’s health at the centre of policy and decision making. They will bring their experience of working with communities and in partnerships and of developing innovative and creative solutions to applying evidence to tackle Scotland’s public health challenges.

The third sector will have an important role in building capacity for meaningful engagement on Scotland’s public health priorities by

  • working with public bodies and communities to advocate for the public's health
  • ensuring that the lived experience of people in communities is at the heart of all decision making processes.

Getting involved

People working in any of these organisations can start to contribute public health reform in a number of ways.