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Chief Executive, supported by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee (reviewed during OSC Member Workshop held on 30 May 2023)
Description and Reason for Review
Health inequalities are differences in health across the population, and between different groups within society which arise due to conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age. The causes of health inequalities are complex, interactive, and simultaneous in their combined actions, with their roots in the wider determinants of health.
People living in more deprived areas are more affected by health inequalities which are avoidable and very costly consequences, for example: higher use of healthcare services, lower productivity, and unemployment.
The Committee (informally) discussed the review topic and felt that it should focus on housing and its impact on health inequality, as this is an area where the Council has direct influence and involvement. By focusing the review on housing and health inequality, the Committee should be able to identify direct actions and influencing actions it can take to bring about improvements.
During the discussion, the Committee expressed that they still wished to highlight the below types of Health Inequality as identified in the previous version of the scope and from the discussion.
· The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Health Inequality
· Access to services (such as GP/frontline/mental health)
· Food Security
· Financial Position
· Access to activities for Young People
· The role of employers
· Socialisation and Mental Health
Link to Priorities:
Strategic Plan Priority and Cross Cutting Objectives:
Homes and Communities
Health Inequalities are addressed and reduced.
National/Regional Priorities: Reducing Health Inequality
Cabinet Priorities: The expansion of the Council’s programme of financial inclusion, through existing programmes including the Household Support Grant and Recovery and Renewal Funding.
Increase understanding of health inequalities in Maidstone, in relation to housing and the impact on health inequality, particularly poor-quality housing.
To identify the actions the Council can take to address this.
The focus of the review will be housing and its impact on health inequality, including physical and mental health.
Prior to the first meeting, produce evidence back containing:
· Available information such as data/statistics, reports, policies, measures and partnerships in place.
· Any other information specifically requested by the Committee that can be readily provided.
Meeting One/Two (evidence collection)
Consulting relevant stakeholders on the topic.
Suggested consultees include:
· Kent Community Health Foundation Trust
· Relevant Kent County Council Officers/Members including Public Health
· Maidstone Age UK
· Local MPs (Helen Whately and Helen Grant)
· MBC Officers, such as:
o The Chief Executive
o Head of Housing and Regulatory Services, Helping you Home Team
o Director of Insight, Strategy and Governance
o Communications and Governance and/or Policy and Information Teams.
· Cabinet Member for Housing and Health
· Engagement with Community Groups
· Golding Homes
· Residents/Voluntary Groups
The above list is not exhaustive, and if chosen as work programme topic, further work will take place to identify further relevant stakeholders.
Written evidence could be submitted if in-person/virtual attendance is not possible.
These requests could focus on questions such as:
· What are the main problems associated with this type of Health Inequality?
· What are the main areas for improvement?
· How could these be improved?
· What would be required to make this improvement and support it in the long-term?
· Is there a greater need for partnership working? If so, which partnership agencies would be included?
· Are there any initiatives that the Council could be involved in communicating?
Meeting three/four (recommendations)
Evaluation of information gained through the previous meetings and creation of recommendations for the Council and/or other bodies.
Report formally presented at next Committee Meeting.
Across four to five meetings of the Committee.
Work Programme Impact: High
Link to CfPS effective scrutiny principles
The following CfPS effective scrutiny principles would be met through conducting the review:
· Provides a constructive ‘critical friend’ challenge
· Amplifies public voices and concerns
· Is Independently led by Councillors
· Drives Improvement in Public Services