The Health and Social Care Act 2012 requires the development of Joint Strategic Needs Assessments (JSNAs) and Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategies (JHWSs).

Based on the analysis of health and social care needs in the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment, the Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy (JHWS) sets out the priorities for collective action.

There are separate JHWSs for Kent and Medway:

The JSNA and JHWS should be the foundations upon which health and wellbeing boards (HWBs) exercise their shared leadership across the wider determinants that influence improved health and wellbeing, such as housing and education. JSNAs and JHWSs are intended to enable commissioners to plan and commission integrated services that meet the needs of their whole local community, in particular for the most vulnerable individuals and the groups with the worst health outcomes.

Often HWBSs do not contain priorities that appear relevant to planners, or they do not communicate them in a way that highlights spatial inequalities and the interventions that are required, including from planning. Tomlinson et al. (2013) argue that:

“To better support the spatial planning system, the JSNA [joint strategic needs assessment] should lead to identified, spatially targeted interventions in the HWS [joint health and wellbeing strategy] that can be delivered through the spatial planning or transport planning systems.”

Kent’s draft JHWS 2014-2017 refers to factors relevant to planning. It states that: “It is acknowledged that for a robust delivery of the strategy wider factors affecting short and long term physical and mental health need to be considered, such as access to green space, climate change resilience, air quality, housing, transport, inequality and employment . To address this, Kent partners have developed a Sustainability Needs Assessment as part of the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA). The recommendations identified, in combination with ongoing delivery of the Kent Environment Strategy, underpin our approach to ensuring a sustainable health and care system.”

Planners should have regard to the priorities set out in JHWSs when developing Local Plans.

Moreover planners may want to seek to influence the coverage of the JHWS – since the JHWS reflects the priorities of the health and wellbeing board it is important that the links between health needs and potential spatial interventions are highlighted as a hook for ongoing collaboration with planners. Without this, there is a risk that health and wellbeing boards will fail to grasp the significance of the wider determinants of health for health outcomes in the local area (Planning Healthier Places, TCPA, 2013) and thus fail to initiate appropriate actions in collaboration with planners.