Joint Strategic Needs Assessment

Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) is defined as “a systematic method for reviewing the health and wellbeing needs of a population, leading to agreed commissioning priorities that will improve the health and wellbeing outcomes and reduce inequalities”1. JSNA emerged from the Social Care Green Paper ‘Independence, wellbeing and choice.’ In 2007, Section 116 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act introduced the statutory requirement for a JSNA to be produced by each local authority and primary care trust (PCT).

The coalition government has signalled an ongoing and central role for JSNAs in the NHS White Paper, 'Equity and excellence: liberating the NHS'. Health and wellbeing boards, convened by local authorities, will be responsible for leading the JSNA process.

Health and Wellbeing boards will be established in shadow form from July 2012 and by April 2013 as PH responsibility is transferred to local government the new Health and Wellbeing boards will be fully established.

The new Health and Wellbeing boards will include members of the health professions, locally elected representatives and the Local Authority Directors of Children’s Services and Social Care. And the Directors of Public Health will play a vital role in providing technical advice. Additionally the voluntary sector and local community groups will be able to take an active part in the JSNA process,

The JSNA is expected to:

  • Describe the future health and wellbeing of its population.
  • Better support the needs of local communities by identifying and encouraging interventions at earlier stages to more effectively target the causes of health problems.
  • Help understand the needs of the whole population.
  • Consider and understand the wider determinants of health.

JSNA is an ambitious programme, specified nationally but delivered at local level, to improve the way information on needs is used to inform service planning.

  1. Department of Health, (2006) Our health,our care, our say:
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WMPHO publications

  • Mapping JSNA data for the West Midlands
    A report mapping the JSNA data for the West Midlands has been produced by the WMPHO trainee analyst. The report uses data from the Public Health Observatories in England JSNA Datasets and provides some tables of analysis for the west midlands as well as some brief bullet points with reference to the data.

  • Health Profiles
    Health Profiles give a snapshot overview of health for each local authority in England. Health Profiles are produced annually by the Public Health Observatories in England working in partnership and are commissioned by the Department of Health.

    The profiles are designed to help local government and health services make decisions and plans to improve local people's health and reduce health inequalities, the profiles present a set of important health indicators that show how the area compares to the national and regional average.
  • Local Health
    Local Health is part of the Department of Health's ongoing Health Profiles Programme which aims to improve availability and accessibility to health and health-related information in England.

    Local Health gives you access to interactive maps and reports at a Middle Super Output Area level, local authority level, and any user defined combination of these geographies.

    Reports produced in Local Health allow you to compare any selected area to the England average for a selection of indicators.
Publication and policy documents from DH and elsewhere

  • JSNA and joint health and wellbeing strategies explained
    The purpose of this document is to support emerging health and wellbeing boards as they engage with the refresh of Joint Strategic Needs Assessments and develop their preparatory joint health and wellbeing strategy. It also describes what support the Department of Health will provide, including what resources will be available and when, and how we will build in learning from early implementer health and wellbeing boards in this.
  • JSNA toolkit: a springboard for action
    This new guidance and best practice toolkit entitled: ‘Joint strategic needs assessment: a springboard for action’ has been produced by Local Government (LG) Improvement and Development for all members of new shadow health and wellbeing boards.
    The new requirement for health and wellbeing boards to lead enhanced joint strategic needs assessments (JSNAs) and joint health and wellbeing strategies (JHWS) will help open up three major areas.
    First and foremost, the boards will bring the major commissioners of public services for local people around a single table.
    Second, it is dependent on local discretion to widen participation in health and wellbeing boards to district councils, the community and voluntary sector and to other agencies with a major contribution to make to promoting health and wellbeing.
    Third, local democratic accountability and the participation of HealthWatch are vital in implementing these changes.
  • Department of Health – Joint Strategic Needs Assessment Guidance
    This guidance complements the statutory guidance Creating Strong, Safe and Prosperous Communities, and provides tools for local partners undertaking JSNA. It describes the stages of the process, including stakeholder involvement, engaging with communities and recommendations on timing and linking with other strategic plans. It also contains guidance on using JSNA to inform local commissioning, publishing and feedback.