Equally Well, the 2008 report by the Scottish Government’s ministerial task force on health inequalities, recognised that tackling health inequalities requires a cross-sector approach that cannot be achieved through healthcare alone.

The report called for the creation of ‘test sites’ to explore whether or not the improved delivery of public services might help to address health inequalities. This approach was adopted as a way of capturing pragmatic learning from the ‘frontline’ of service delivery. The test sites were designed to explore new ways of working through progressive service improvements in order to deliver recommendations within Equally Well. 

We were involved in the work of two out the eight projects that were awarded test site status in 2008; the Glasgow city test site and the Govanhill test site.

Glasgow city test site

With evidence showing that the built environment has a strong association with health and health inequalities, the Glasgow city test site focused on addressing health inequalities through the integration of town planning and public health.

Partners developed toolkits and learning outputs, adopted new approaches to community engagement and offered capacity building opportunities to town planners and health improvement staff. Evaluation findings showed that there was significant value in giving local people a stronger voice in the decision making process for their local area.

More information can be found in this set of evaluation reports:

Equally Well Glasgow Test Site: Summary and Key Evaluation

Planning for Better Health: A story of the Equally Well Glasgow city test site's approach towards addressing health inequalities through integrating health and wellbeing into the planning system

Assessing the health impacts of neighbourhood improvements in Calton 

Govanhill test site

Unlike most other Equally Well test sites throughout Scotland the Govanhill test site did not have a particular health related theme. Rather, it involved a localised partnership approach (involving the public and third sectors as well as community members) which aimed to improve all aspects of life and conditions in the area.

Evaluation evidence indicated that test site partners believe that the ‘complete’ approach adopted was the correct way to tackle complex local issues and to improve the health and wellbeing of Govanhill residents. This belief, and indeed the Govanhill test site approach, are consistent with international evidence concerning the determinants of health. Several reports were produced from the evaluation of the test site and can be downloaded below: