Section 31 - Exercise of public health functions of local authorities
392.This section inserts a new section 73B into the NHS Act and applies to local authorities which have a duty to improve public health under new section 2B of the NHS Act. Subsections (1) and (2) require such local authorities to have regard to documents that the Secretary of State publishes for the purposes of the section, when exercising their public health functions; for example this power may be used to require local authorities to have regard to the Department’s public health outcomes framework. The public health outcomes framework sets out the Government’s goals for improving and protecting the nation’s health and for narrowing health inequalities through improving the health of the poorest, fastest. Subsection (3) also provides that the Secretary of State may publish guidance to local authorities relating to their public health functions.
393.Subsection (4) provides that any document or guidance issued by the Secretary of State under this may include guidance to local authorities about the staff they employ to discharge their public health functions.
394.Subsections (5) and (6) require directors of public health to publish annual reports on the health of their local population and local authorities to publish that report. The reports are intended to help directors of public health to account for their activity and to chart progress over time.