South Australian Health in All Policies Initiative: Case Study
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South Australian Health in All Policies Initiative: Case Study - strengthening cross-government action on the social determinants of health
Sharing South Australia’s experience provides policy and decision makers from other jurisdictions with a way forward, and examples of how the theoretical frameworks and evidence can be used to develop practical policy responses. There is increasing recognition that the implementation of intersectoral approaches such as Health in All Policies requires new skills and competencies - both within the health sector and across other sectors - to facilitate effective action on the determinants of health in public policy development and health planning systems. To support this requirement, the Strategic Partnerships team undertake a range of capacity building activities to support implementation of a Health in All Policies approach, working with stakeholders from health and other sectors.
During its ten years of operation, the South Australian Health in All Policies approach has been applied to a broad range of public policy issues, developed a suite of methodologies designed to tackle different types of policy problems, and formed strong collaborative partnerships with senior policy makers across government and within the health sector.
A positive outcome has been the emergence of an informal Health in All Policies ‘Community of Practice’ (CoP) which has evolved spontaneously through a process of working collaboratively within and across sectors.
The CoP strengthens understanding, opportunity, and capacity for policy makers to work collaboratively across government to improve public policy outcomes through action on the social determinants of health. It enables connections and networks to be established and maintained across government and the non-government sector, nationally and internationally, building relationships to enable the sharing of ideas. Such a practice builds capacity around joined-up governance and intersectoral action to respond to complex public policy issues.
A CoP allows the health sector to gain a better understanding of the policy context and drivers of other parts of government to better position health policy. At the same time, policy makers outside of health develop a better understanding of health and wellbeing and health sector policy, and can apply that knowledge to achieving their policy goals and objectives in a way that supports improved health and wellbeing outcomes. To this end, a win-win outcome is achieved, contributing to breaking down boundaries agencies traditionally face when attempting to work across different policy areas.