The Executive Director of Adult Social Care and Public Health to present the Public Health Annual Report 2021/22.
The theme of the report is ‘Sources Of Strength: Securing Gloucestershire’s Health And Wellbeing through an Anchor Institutions Approach’.
Professor Sarah Scott, Executive Director of Adult Social Care and Communities and Public Health for Gloucestershire County Council presented the Director of Public Health Annual Report for 2021/22. The title of this year’s report was ‘Sources of Strength: Securing Gloucestershire’s Health and Wellbeing through an Anchor Institutions Approach’.
To view the full report please visit the link here
Introducing some of the Public Health team responsible for producing the report, the Executive Director reinforced the importance of the joint team effort that had contributed to developing the document and in addressing health inequalities for Gloucestershire.
Reflecting on the value of the contributions made by local communities during the pandemic, the committee also noted the input from large locally based organisations and the role they played in strengthening the economic and social aspects of the local community. It was acknowledged that this vital role had become even more apparent during the response to COVID-19, where acts of support and participation had demonstrated how important the combined efforts of local communities and organisations can be when working together to support those who need it the most.
Large organisations who provide support to their local communities are known as “anchor institutions”. Often large employers, anchor institutions are unlikely to relocate their business location and have a significant stake in their local area. The organisations have sizeable assets that can be used to support their local community’s health and wellbeing. Traditionally, anchor institutions have been represented by public sector organisations, such as health care services, local authorities and universities. However, it has become increasingly apparent that support can be also be provided by other types of organisation, including business anchor institutions and community anchor institutions. With a foothold in the county, anchor institutions have the ability to improve people’s health and wellbeing through a variety of activities, including influencing the health of the wider community as well as that of their own employees.
The theme of this year’s annual report focussed on the role of anchor institutions in supporting the health and wellbeing of Gloucestershire residents and in addressing some of the longstanding inequalities within its local communities, whilst at the same time, helping to drive the economic improvement process in the county’s recovery from COVID-19.
The report was structured into five key areas: -
1) Employment – looking at the role of anchor institutions in the recruitment and retention of local staff, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds;
2) Procurement and commissioning – considering how goods and services are procured to encourage local organisations to better understand how to provide such services to local communities;
3) Buildings and capital – ensuring anchor institutions make their spaces available for community use, including supporting access to affordable housing for staff;
4) Environment – how anchor institutions can help Gloucestershire meet its carbon neutral targets, as well as supporting improvements in air quality and other aspects of making improvements to the local environment;
5) Place – focusing on the needs of the local community and working in partnership with other organisations across Gloucestershire.
The committee’s attention was drawn to the seven recommendations outlined in the report: -
1) The Prevention, Wellbeing and Communities Hub at Gloucestershire County Council to organise an anchor institutions event. The aim of this proposal was to bring together key partners from across Gloucestershire to discuss the five areas set out in the report and to identify additional opportunities for action.
2) Anchor institutions to reassess career access and development pathways to strengthen opportunities for people from underrepresented groups and young people. Consideration should be given to recruitment practices and supporting retention and workforce health and inclusion through fair pay and conditions.
3) Anchor institutions should consider and develop their social value policy in line with the Social Value Act. These should be aligned across the county to further strengthen the contribution to social, economic and environmental impacts.
4) Initial focus should be on strengthening the role of core (public sector) anchor institutions by: -
a) Identifying a strategic lead per organisation to help set the direction and priorities based on the five areas set out in the report.
b) Identifying an operational lead per organisation who can ensure that actions and recommendations are implemented at an organisational level.
c) Building the five areas set out in the report into corporate plans and wider policies and practices.
d) Developing locally agreed matrices to monitor and evaluate the contributions of core (public sector) anchor institutions.
e) Ensuring that contracting and monitoring requirements are proportionate to the size of the contract, to promote inclusivity for a range of organisation types.
f) Supporting more flexible commissioning and the co-production of services which places power and trust in communities and recognises the value of local expertise and lived experience.
g) Committing to using public buildings and spaces as community assets and ensuring that lease agreements can make this viable.
5. Working in association with GFirst LEP, (Gloucestershire Local Enterprise Partnership), develop a clearer identity and roles for business anchor institutions. Ensure anchor institutions are included in the refreshed Local Industrial Strategy (LIS).
6. Develop a Gloucestershire Anchor Institutions Collaborative to ensure
a coherent, system-wide approach for anchor institutions to develop
across the five areas. This should report to the Health and Wellbeing
7. Publish the principles as an ‘Anchor Institutions Charter’ to which organisations can pledge and demonstrate their commitment to
The committee noted the report, including the seven recommendations outlined above. Commending the proposals, members were encouraged by the opportunities they provided and agreed this was a good starting point from which to consider health inequalities and in recovering from the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Seeking clarification on several key topics, including issues relating to mental health and environmental matters, the committee looked forward to receiving regular updates on how the actions would be taken forward. Reassured the document would be shared with District Councils, it was greed to note the report with an update at the July committee meeting. Action by – Executive Director of ASC and Public Health