Health in All Policies: Evaluating the South Australian Approach to Intersectoral Action for Health

Angela P. Lawless, Carmel Williams, Catherine Hurley, Deborah Wildgoose, Amy Sawford, Ilona Kickbusch

Abstract


OBJECTIVES: Health in All Policies (HiAP) has been promoted as a means of embedding concern for health impacts in the policy-making process. In South Australia, specific structures and processes to achieve this have been developed and tested.

PARTICIPANTS: The HiAP approach is designed to engage policy officers and managers in all sectors of government.

SETTING: South Australia, one of six Australian states, which operates under a system of cabinet government. There are 15 government departments.

INTERVENTION: The primary mechanism of the South Australian HiAP approach is the health lens analysis (HLA) – an intersectoral, partnership process drawing on public health research methods. It has been applied to three separate public policy issues: water security, digital technology and migration.

OUTCOMES: Evaluation findings to date suggest that the HLAs have resulted in the following: increased understanding by policy-makers of the impact of their work on health outcomes; changes in policy direction; development and dissemination of policy-relevant research; greater understanding and stronger partnerships between health and other government departments; and a positive disposition toward employing health lens analyses in future work.

CONCLUSION: There have long been calls for intersectoral action in order to achieve public policy supportive of positive health outcomes. Evaluation to date suggests that the HLA is a promising means of moving the agenda from policy rhetoric to policy action.


Keywords


health policy; public policy; public sector

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17269/cjph.103.2969