South Australia’s Health in All Policies initiative

by SA Health

(Government)

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The South Australian Health in All Policies approach is about working together to achieve the goals and policies of other sectors in ways that protect or promote health and wellbeing.

Project implemented: 2007

Project goal

To promote healthy public policy and address the social determinants of health through cross sector policy activity.

delivering on

why is this project important?

Public policies are the key levers used by governments to address fundamental social, economic and environmental issues. HiAP provides a useful strategy to form intersectoral relationships and develop intersectoral policies across government to address the social determinants of health and achieve the SDGs.

Monitoring and evaluation is built into the South Australian HiAP model. A recent five year research project conducted by the Southgate Institute at Flinders University, through a National Health and Medical Research grant, aimed to determine the effectiveness of the HiAP initiative in motivating action across sectors in order to improve population health and health equity. The findings show that HiAP has encouraged policies and interventions that will in the long-term improve the health and wellbeing of South Australians. The findings demonstrate that whilst government agencies readily understand the benefits of HiAP as providing tools for improving the process of intersectoral policy development, the more distal outcome-focused intent of improving equity has not been as well understood and has gained less traction.

Health in All Policies (HiAP) is about promoting healthy public policy and is based on the understanding that health is not merely the product of health care activities, but is influenced by a wide range of social, economic, political, cultural and environmental determinants of health. The SA HiAP approach addresses the social determinants of health through intersectoral action across government agencies. The approach involves working with other sectors on cross sector policies to improve population health and wellbeing while also addressing the other sector’s core business (with the intention to produce co-benefits). The SA HiAP approach utilises a model specific to the Government’s organisational structure to deliver on whole-of-government strategic objectives. The implementation of HiAP has been supported by a high-level mandate from central government, an overarching framework supportive of a diverse program of work, a commitment to work collaboratively across agencies, and a strong evaluation process. The South Australian HiAP model is built upon two foundational pillars: strong governance and flexible partnership practices and processes, including Health Lens Analysis and Public Health Partner Authorities.

The HiAP approach has been applied to a diverse range of policy areas of importance to South Australia, many of which are beyond the usual purview of the health sector. These policy issues have included: regional migrant settlement; active transport; urban planning; determinants of obesity; education; overseas students’ health and wellbeing; sustainable regional development; the natural environment; and mobility (drivers’ licensing).

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