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The district council contribution to public health: a time of challenge and opportunity

District councils have a key role to play in keeping us healthy. They have a distinct, local role in service provision, economic development, planning, and helping to shape and support their communities – all key areas that are increasingly recognised as vital components of a true population health system.

This report aims to highlight these roles and help district councils play their full part in improving the health of their communities. They will need to do that within a national and local policy framework and a financial situation that provides not just challenges but also many opportunities, working in partnership with other bodies and local communities themselves.

This is a time of paradox, a time of significant and enabling policy reform in public health coupled with unparalleled funding constraints, for district councils and wider local government. In this context we believe that the role of district councils in public health is ever more important. This report sets out some of the ways district councils are already improving public health and where they need to go further to maximise impact.