Public Health England
Rosie Cooper (West Lancashire, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what accountability processes he has put in place to ensure that (a) Public Health England delivers the outcomes required of it and (b) the performance of health and well-being boards is measured.
Anne Milton (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Public Health), Health; Guildford, Conservative)
Public Health England (PHE) will be an executive agency of the Department of Health for operational independence but will nevertheless be subject to the usual requirements of public and parliamentary accountability of a Department of state. A framework agreement between PHE and the Department will set out roles and responsibilities. There will be a separate line of accountability from the chief executive of PHE to the Secretary of State for Health as well as a direct reporting to the Permanent Secretary. In addition, an advisory board with a non-executive majority will provide independent advice and challenge to support the running and development of PHE. PHE will have to deliver against objectives set out in its business plan, to be measured against the Public Health Outcomes Framework, and report annually.
Health and well-being boards will be established as local committees of local authorities and, as such, it is not for central Government to monitor their performance. The boards will work with local communities to agree local priorities for action to improve both health and care services and the health and well-being of local people through joint health and well-being strategies (JHWSs). JHWSs should include clear outcome measures by which health and well-being boards can use to demonstrate whether they have been successful in tackling these priorities, against which local people can hold health and well-being boards to account. The involvement of local councillors and local Healthwatch on health and well-being boards will support this transparency and accountability to local people. Health and well-being boards will also be subject to overview and scrutiny committees of the local authority who will be able to review and scrutinise the decisions and actions of health and well-being boards and make reports and recommendations to the authority or its executive.