Maidstone Health Inequalities Action Plan 2016

Communities, Housing & Environment

18 October 2016

Is the final decision on the recommendations in this report to be made at this meeting?



Maidstone Health Inequalities Action Plan – Progress Report


Final Decision-Maker

Communities, Housing & Environment Committee

Lead Director or Head of Service

Head of Housing and Community Services

Lead Officer and Report Author

Sarah Ward, Housing and Health Officer

Ellie Kershaw, Housing Inclusion Manager



Wards affected




This report makes the following recommendations to the final decision-maker:

1.    The Committee notes the progress of the Maidstone Health Inequalities Action Plan to date.

2.    The Committee agrees the future priorities for the Maidstone Health Inequalities Action Plan.  

3.    The Committee adopts the refreshed action plan.




This report relates to the following corporate priorities:

·         Keeping the Borough an attractive place for all, by:

-          Providing a clean and safe environment

-          Encouraging good health and wellbeing and;

-          Respecting the character of our borough

·         Securing a successful economy across the borough, by:

-          Improving the transport infrastructure

-          Promoting a range of employment opportunities and skills and;

-          Planning for sufficient homes 







Communities, Housing and Environment Committee

18 October 2016

Maidstone Health Inequalities Action Plan – Progress Report





1.1         The purpose of the report is to update the Committee on the progress of the Maidstone Health Inequalities Action Plan and confirm the Council’s commitment going forward in tackling the borough’s health inequality.



2.                        INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND


2.1         Health Inequalities are differences in health outcomes between people or groups due to social, geographical, biological and other factors. These differences have a huge impact, because they result in the people who are in or closest to poverty experiencing poorer health and shorter lives.


2.2         The national vision is to improve and protect the nation’s health and wellbeing, and improve the health of the poorest fastest which is measured through two key targets in the Public Health Outcomes Framework.


Outcome 1: Increased healthy life expectancy

Outcome 2: Reduced differences in life expectancy and healthy life expectancy between communities.


At the local level responsibility for the public health function has been given to local government, in particular unitary and upper tier authorities. In Maidstone, this is Kent County Council. Responsibility for public health transferred from the former Primary Care Trusts to local authorities on 1 April 2013.


2.3         In 2012, Kent County Council adopted the Kent Health Inequalities Action Plan titled ‘Mind the Gap Building Bridges to better health for all’ (2012-2015). Mind The Gap was built upon the six key policy objectives derived from the work of Sir Michael Marmot entitled “Fair Society, Healthy Lives” published in 2010.  


The policy objectives are as follows:

·      Give every child the best start in life

·      Enable all children, young people and adult to maximise their capabilities and have control over their lives

·      Create fair employment and good work for all

·      Ensure a healthy standard of living for all

·      Create and develop healthy and sustainable places and communities

·      Strengthen the role and impact of ill health prevention


These policy objectives are still as relevant today as they were when published in 2010. However, just using these policy objectives without providing a greater geographical focus on the communities suffering the worst health and lowest life expectancy, and planning over an unrealistic time period will not in themselves reduce health inequalities significantly.


2.4         Kent County Council, Health Inequalities Strategy, ‘Mind the Gap 2016’ continues to follow the policy objectives by Sir Michael Marmot. Kent County Council’s approach to tackling health inequalities is Community Transformation. This is a means of empowering individuals and communities for better health and wellbeing. Kent County Council aim to radically improve health and wellbeing of identified communities, through coordinated actions across KCC, district councils, CCG’s, service providers and community partners. In taking this approach, KCC will be concentrating on Shepway South, Park Wood and Postley Road.


2.5         District Councils have a major role to play in public health. The functions we deliver such as planning, housing, economic development, environmental health, leisure and community safety have key impact on the health of communities. In continuing to deliver core public health services from existing revenues, the Council must seek new, pioneering ways of delivery to achieve more and produce better outcomes with fewer resources. Taking a strategic approach to public health across all services will help the Council to better align and target resources in line with health and wellbeing priorities.


2.6         The Council also needs to support the commissioning process (at County Level) as an identifier of local needs and use our expertise in a multitude of public health areas to be potential provider, partner and sub-commissioner of public health interventions. Maidstone Borough Council is closer to our communities and therefore better placed to understand what is likely to be most effective in a given location.


2.7         In 2014, Maidstone Borough Council adopted its own Health Inequalities Action Plan demonstrating how the County wide objectives can be delivered locally. In the absence of localised data at the time, the Council adopted Sir Michael Marmot’s policy objectives for consistency with the Kent County Council action plan to assist with delivery and reporting. The key to Marmot’s approach is to create the conditions for people to take control of their own lives. The priorities recognise that disadvantage starts before birth and accumulates throughout life.


2.8                     The Council recognises that reducing health inequalities cannot be done in isolation; we depend on developing and sustaining partnerships with organisation in the borough to help us achieve the goals for our residents. The Maidstone Health and Wellbeing Board have the responsibility to oversee the delivery of the action plan and report progress back to the Kent Health and Wellbeing Board. The Group own the action plan, but are not the sole owners of the actions contained within it.


2.9         The Maidstone Health Inequalities Action Plan runs until 2020; however as data has developed, knowledge has matured and local authorities face an ever-changing financial climate, there is a need to review progress to ensure priorities are still relevant and the Council is working to meet the needs of its communities.





3.                        AVAILABLE OPTIONS


3.1         To note the progress of the Maidstone Health Inequalities Action Plan as set out in Appendix A and continue with the current plan until it expires in 2020.


3.2         The Committee reviews the implementation and impact of the current Health Inequalities Action Plan (2014-2020) and examines the strategic direction for future delivery as highlighted in Appendix B – Refresh 2016 of the Maidstone Health Inequalities Action Plan.


The Committee considers the key objectives and priorities in the refreshed plan to determine the skills, capabilities and resources needed to successfully contribute to reducing health inequalities in the borough.


3.3    The Committee can choose not to act at all as Kent County Council has the statutory responsibility for Public Health. However, this would mean the Council foregoing the opportunity to influence the delivery of services that could reduce health inequalities in the borough.





4.1      The preferred option is contained in paragraph 3.2, as this proposal will enable for progress to be reviewed and tracked and place Maidstone Borough Council at the forefront of tackling the wider determinants of health within its borough. This will ensure better outcomes for our residents and in the long-term reduce the financial burden on services. 


4.2    Refreshing the action plan will enable Maidstone Borough Council to take a leap forward in improving resident health due to the development of data and maturity of knowledge. Some of the current work streams contained within the Maidstone Health Inequalities Action Plan 2014-2020 (e.g. Delivery actions contained in the Maidstone Teenage Pregnancy Action Plan) are no longer relevant so will be removed from the plan.





5.1      A draft of the 2015/16 progress report was presented at the Maidstone Health and Wellbeing Board on Monday 4th July 2016 and feedback from Board Members helped inform this report.  


5.2      Additional consultations have taken place to demonstrate the importance of district council’s involvement in public health on the following dates:


·         Wider Leadership Team Workshop: Tuesday 13th September 2016. Following this session, Heads of Service were requested to nominate a health champion for their area so consultation and delivery can continue internally for the duration of the action plan.

·         Maidstone Health and Wellbeing Board: Tuesday 20th September 2016


5.3      A member’s workshop has been scheduled for Monday 17th October 2016.




6.1     Following the decision of the Committee, should the plan be adopted, the Maidstone Health and Wellbeing Board will endorse the action plan and instruct the sub-groups for delivery. In addition, work will continue internally with Maidstone Borough Council Health Champions to ensure health and wellbeing is considered with planning and delivering across internal departments.


6.2     The refreshed Maidstone Health Inequalities Action Plan will be published on the Council’s website.


6.3     The Maidstone Health and Wellbeing Board will provide annual reports to this committee to note progress to date, share achievements and note areas for concern.








Impact on Corporate Priorities

The Maidstone Heath Inequalities Action Plan contributes to the delivery of the Strategic Plan priorities: Keeping Maidstone an attractive place for all and Securing a successful economy for the Maidstone Borough.  

Head of Housing and Community Services

Risk Management

Not being involved in the health agenda would carry the risk that the Council is unable to influence matters relating to the health and wellbeing of its communities.

Head of Housing and Community Services


Maidstone Borough Council receives approximately £146,000 from Kent Public Health for the delivery of health improvement programmes focusing on obesity and mental health and wellbeing.

Kent County Council is currently reviewing commissioning for adult health improvement service with the proposal to start the procurement process in autumn 2016.

Therefore, funding for 2016/17 cannot be guaranteed.


The actions listed within the Health Inequalities Action Plans covers a wide range of services provided by the Council and partner agencies and cannot be dependent on funding pilots / projects but be embedded as part of core council duties.


Financial reviewers


The priorities contacted within the Health Inequalities Action Plan cut across internal departments and external agencies. Delivery against priorities will be through the use of existing staff resources and where appropriate seek external grant funding. 


Head of HR Shared Service


There are no legal implications relating to this report.

However, any commissioned projects (subject to future funding) will be subject to the standard terms and conditions.

Legal Services

Equality Impact Needs Assessment

The needs of different groups are considered through the development of the Maidstone Health Inequalities Action Plan.


Policy & Information Manager

Environmental/Sustainable Development



Community Safety



Human Rights Act




Any commissioned services received through the Kent Public Health Funding will be subject to the procurement process.


Asset Management

The sub-groups of the Maidstone Health and Wellbeing Board will be responsible for asset mapping existing provision, capabilities and needs assess a particular area before delivery work is undertaken.

Head of Housing and Community Services






The following documents are to be published with this report and form part of the report:


·               Appendix A: Maidstone Health Inequalities 2015/16 Progress Report

·               Appendix B: Refresh of the Maidstone Health Inequalities Action Plan  



 Background papers


·         Maidstone Health Inequalities Action Plan 2014 – 2020 (adopted July 2014)