Substance misuse services: The quality and safety of residential detoxification

By the CQC (2018)

This briefing flags up concerns, identified during the course of CQC’s inspections, about some independent sector services that offer residential care to people undergoing detoxification from drugs and alcohol. In 2016/17, it is estimated that about 1% of people in alcohol and drug treatment received this type of intervention. The briefing, which includes recommendations, is for providers, commissioners and other local and national bodies that play a part in assuring the quality of substance misuse services.

Click here to view this briefing


Public Health e-Learning toolkit

By UK Health Forum

Click here to use the toolkit

Public Health eLearning Toolkit (PHeLT) has been developed by qualified information professionals at the UK Health Forum, to support the public health workforce in using and appraising information in their work.
The PHeLT toolkit brings together a suite of resources to help you improve your skills in the areas of critical appraisal, understanding copyright, and ethical use of information, including correct referencing.

The aim of PHeLT is to save the public health workforce time in making effective use of the evidence by providing a single point of call for accessing resources to support the use of evidence. PHeLT is different from other elearning resources because it includes information on critical appraisal of grey literature, something that is not covered by other resources. An explanation of grey literature and it’s importance in public health is available in the FAQs section of the website.
PHeLT contains links only to existing, high quality resources on information skills such as referencing and critical appraisal. The majority of resources linked to from PHeLT have been made freely available by their publishers. However, the toolkits do contains some resources that are paid for, or require registration. This is indicated in the resource summary.

Social systems evidence – a free to search repository of research evidence across a broad range of government sectors

Click here to view this resource

Social Systems Evidence is the world’s most comprehensive, continuously updated repository of syntheses of research evidence about the programs, services and products available in a broad range of government sectors and program areas (e.g., community and social services, culture and gender, economic development and growth, education, and transportation) as well as the governance, financial and delivery arrangements within which these programs, services and products are provided, and the implementation strategies that can help to ensure that these programs, services and products get to those who need them. The content contained in Social Systems Evidence covers most of the Sustainable Development Goals, with the exceptions of the health part of goal 3 (which is already well covered by Health Systems Evidence), most of goal 7 (energy), and all of goals 13-15 (climate, water and land).

The types of syntheses in Social Systems Evidence include evidence briefs for policy, overviews of systematic reviews, systematic reviews, systematic reviews in progress (i.e. protocols for systematic reviews), and systematic reviews being planned (i.e. registered titles for systematic reviews). Social Systems Evidence also contains a continuously updated repository of economic evaluations in these same domains. Documents included in Social Systems Evidence are identified through weekly electronic searches of online bibliographic databases (EBSCOhost, ProQuest and Web of Science) and through manual searches of the websites of high-volume producers of research syntheses relevant to social system program and service areas (see below acknowledgements). For all types of documents, Social Systems Evidence provides links to user-friendly summaries, scientific abstracts, and full-text reports (if applicable and when freely available). For each systematic review, Social Systems Evidence also provides an assessment of its methodological quality, and links to the studies contained in the review.

While SSE is free to use and does not require that users have an account, creating an account will allow you to view more than 20 search results, to save documents and searches, and to subscribe to email alerts, among other advanced features. You can create an account by clicking ‘Create account’ on the top banner (for desktop and laptop computers) or in the menu on far right of the banner (for mobile devices).

Social Systems Evidence can save social system policymakers and stakeholders a great deal of time by helping them to rapidly identify: a synthesis of the best available research evidence on a given topic that has been prepared in a systematic and transparent way, how recently the search for studies was conducted, the quality of the synthesis, the countries in which the studies included in the synthesis were conducted, and the key findings from the synthesis. Social Systems Evidence can also help them to rapidly identify economic evaluations in these same domains.

Free online course – Tackling Inequalities Through Health and Social Care Design

You may be interested in an upcoming free online course from the Scottish Improvement Science Collaborating Centre. The Tackling Inequalities Through Health and Social Care Design course will launch on the 19th of February 2018.

This is a free online course that’s available to staff across health and social care organisations and will support personal and professional development for staff working across all disciplines.

The trailer provides an overview, and those interested may sign up for the course now, on FutureLearn:


The need for a complex systems model of evidence for public health

The Lancet, Vol 390, Issue 10112 Pages 2527-2604

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Making obesity everyone’s business: a whole systems approach to obesity

By Local Government Association (2017)

This briefing, written in partnership with Public Health England and the Association of Directors of Public Health, focuses on the Whole Systems Obesity programme, which will provide local authorities with a different approach to tackling obesity. The programme is exploring the evidence and local practice to develop guidance and tools to help councils set up a whole systems approach to obesity in their local area.

Click here to view this briefing

Directors of public health as ‘a protected species’: qualitative study of the changing role of public health professionals in England following the 2013 reforms

Jehu, L.M. et al. Journal of Public Health,

Published: 07 November 2017

Click here to view this article


The Health and Social Care Act 2012 gave councils in England responsibility for improving the health of their populations. Public health teams were transferred from the National Health Service (NHS), accompanied by a ring-fenced public health grant. This study examines the changing role of these teams within local government.


In-depth case study research was conducted within 10 heterogeneous councils. Initial interviews (n = 90) were carried out between October 2015 and March 2016, with follow-up interviews (n = 21) 12 months later. Interviewees included elected members, directors of public health (DsPH) and other local authority officers, plus representatives from NHS commissioners, the voluntary sector and Healthwatch.


Councils welcomed the contribution of public health professionals, but this was balanced against competing demands for financial resources and democratic leverage. DsPH—seen by some as a ‘protected species’—were relying increasingly on negotiating and networking skills to fulfil their role. Both the development of the existing specialist public health workforce and recruitment to, and development of, the future workforce were uncertain. This poses both threats and opportunities.


Currently the need for staff to retain specialist skills and maintain UKPH registration is respected. However, action is needed to address how future public health professionals operating within local government will be recruited and developed.