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4. Knowledge, intelligence and evidence-based practice

Public health knowledge, intelligence and evidence underpins the work of the division, providing information on current and future public health needs to enable services to be effectively targeted and delivered.

The public health intelligence team ensures that strategic decisions and commissioning plans are taken on the basis of sound evidence. This is achieved by understanding the characteristics of the local population and different needs within the population. The team does this by:

  • monitoring and analysing the changing population, including inequalities
  • investigating patterns of disease and health of the population
  • identifying vulnerable groups at risk of social disadvantage and poorer health outcomes
  • analysing patterns of health and social care service use to inform changes to services
  • ensuring decisions on which services to fund are based on a balance of up-to-date, high-quality research evidence alongside professional expertise
  • investigating variations in service activity to improve health outcomes
  • demonstrating the benefits of new or modified services, particularly return on investment
  • assessing future trends in population health and impact of services

The team’s work requires close working with many partners locally including National Health Service (NHS), Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), South West Commissioning Support Unit, the Public Health England Knowledge Intelligence Team and other local authority public health teams in the West of England (WOE) through the West of England Partnership. Within the council, the team work with the research team and the children adults & health (CAH) performance team.

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Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA)

The JSNA provides a picture of current and future health needs and informs South Gloucestershire’s plans for future health and social care. The production of the JSNA is a statutory requirement upon the Health and Wellbeing Board in accordance with the Health & Social Care Act 2012. The board uses the JSNA to inform the Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy (JHWS). The strategy, in turn, guides local health and social care commissioning plans.


  • is concerned with wider social factors that have an impact on people’s health and wellbeing such as housing, poverty and employment
  • looks at the health of the population with a focus on behaviours which affect health such as smoking, diet and exercise
  • identifies health and care needs in a consistent manner
  • identifies health inequalities
  • identifies potential interventions which are supported by an evidence base
  • reviews current service provision and assets
  • identifies gaps in health and care services, documenting unmet needs

The current JSNA (published in March 2013) is available at:

Work on the new JSNA will start in Summer 2015. The new JSNA will be published in Spring 2016.

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Useful documents and links

Public Health Outcomes Framework Data:

South Gloucestershire Health Profile 2014

Quality of Life Report

For more information please contact: Susan Hamilton, Public Health Consultant