DD1398 Public health expertise and Funds to the Food Flagship budget

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Date signed: 
22 September 2015
Decision by: 
Jeff Jacobs, Head of Paid Service

Executive summary

The Executive Director – Communities and Intelligence approved (under cover of DD1349) expenditure of up to £84,000 on a 12 month fixed term Public Health Specialist to provide specialist public health support to the Food Flagship programme (being delivered by the GLA’s Food Team) and lead on the Food Flagship evaluation. 

There were no applications for this post therefore approval is sought to spend up to £44,000 to secure public health expertise via a contract with an external organisation (to be procured by the GLA’s Health Team working with TfL procurement) and £20,000 on an evaluation of the Food Flagships (led by the GLA’s Food Team).  


The Executive Director approves:
•    Expenditure of up to £44,000 of NHS London income to secure specialise public health expertise through external procurement in 2015/16 to support the Food Flagship programme ; and  
•    Allocation of £20,000 of NHS London income towards the GLA’s Food Flagship evaluation. 
•    This decision replaces and cancels DD1349.


Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

Child obesity is a Mayoral priority. The School Food Plan was launched by the then Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove in July 2013. It identified the good work that was already being undertaken by the Mayor of London and the Food Programme was cited as an example of best practice. The School Food Plan committed the DfE to fund two Flagship Boroughs in London to show the potential impact of using schools as catalysts for changes to the wider food environment.  The Flagships are committed to robustly evaluating the programme and as part of their funding agreement with DfE have to undertake an evaluation of the impact of the programme on health and educational attainment.        

The Executive Director – Communities and Intelligence approved (under cover of DD1349) approved expenditure of up to £84,000 on the recruitment of a 12 month fixed term public health specialist to lead on health and food work across the GLA and conduct and lead the evaluation of the Food Flagships programme. Of the £84,000, £64.000 was from the Health Team’s obesity budget and £20,000 from the Food Team’s Food Flagship budget.

A fixed term public health specialist post was advertised in June 2015; however no one applied for this post.

This DD seeks approval to use up to £44,000 of the £84,000 to procure part time public health expertise to the value of up to £44,000 in 2015/16. Public Health expertise and input are not part of the current £1.2 million Food Flagships, as this resource was available through the Health Team until the previous Public Health Specialist left the GLA.  Public health expertise will help significantly improve the outcomes of the Food Flagships across the Health sector – which cannot be resourced through the current Food Flagships budget. The total Food Flagships budget is already allocated to the two boroughs, the GLA’s Project manager (to March 2016) and the evaluation. In addition, as well as the Public Health consultant supporting on the Food Flagships the post will also support other work undertaken by the GLA’s Health Team (as discussed below).

This DD also seeks approval to use £20,000 of the £84,000 towards evaluation of the Food Flagships programme – through a reallocation of funds from the Health Team’s budget to the Food Flagships budget. The remaining £20,000 is already allocated within the overall Food Flagship budget for external evaluation (as approved by MD 1328) and will be used for this purpose.

This will enable the remaining £20,000 of the Food Flagships budget that would previously have previously been used to fund part of the evaluation to be used towards funding the GLA’s Project Manager for a further year to the end of the programme.

The GLA’s Health Team will lead on the procurement (working with TFL procurement) and management of the public health expertise and the GLA’s Food Team will lead on the Food Flagship programme, including the evaluation of the programme. 

Objectives and expected outcomes

The external public health expert will:
•    Lead the healthcare stream of the Food Flagships programme – ensuring GPs, Hospitals and care providers in the Food Flagships improve their food offer.
•    Lead on the development and delivery of a Flagships Hospitals Conference with an aim to support hospitals in the two flagship boroughs to improve their food offer.
•    Lead on the procurement of the evaluation of the Food flagships programme utilising public health expertise to ensure its robustness and validity.
•    Oversee the evaluation of the programme and the associated report. 
•    Provide specialist public health expertise input into the Food Flagships programme.
•    Maximise the potential for health improvement of the GLA and the GLA family by providing expert advice and working closely with the Food Team and other teams in the organisation on food and obesity related matters.
•    Lead on the integration of public health into the Food Flagships and other teams within the GLA, as appropriate.
•    Provide Public Health expertise to the work linking a reduction in obesity and raising educational attainment from across the GLA family
•    Be responsible for delivering some aspects of the Mayor’s statutory Health Inequalities Strategy (HIS) which relate to obesity.

The Food Flagship evaluation will:
•    Incorporate both evaluation work at the borough level and a programme level evaluation externally commissioned by the GLA.
•    Provide comparative qualitative and quantitative findings on impact and the process of change.
•    Include an assessment of cost effectiveness and value for money led by GLA Economics.
•    Ensure the learning from the Food Flagships can be disseminated to others across London, the UK and internationally.

Equality comments

The Flagships programme seeks to reduce food related illness and increase academic attainment working in two London boroughs as demonstration sites.   Obesity is a leading cause of health inequalities and the programmes within the flagships are focused on more deprived wards.  Part of the responsibilities of the public health expert will be delivering aspects of the Mayor’s statutory Health Inequalities Strategy (HIS) which relate to obesity.  

It is expected this work to have a positive effect on equalities through the rigorous evaluation of the impact of the GLA’s work on health inequalities and health outcomes across different socio-economic groups (including those with Projected Characteristics under the Equalities Act).

Other considerations

a)    Key risks and issues
Limited availability to source a suitably qualified consultant. The Head of health has access to Public health faculty contacts that may mitigate this risk 

b)    Links to strategies and Mayoral and corporate priorities
The Food Flagships contributes to a number of Mayoral Strategies:
•    Implementation of all the priorities of the Mayor’s Food Strategy: Healthy and Sustainable Food for London
•    Food-related elements of the Health Inequalities Strategy particularly on childhood obesity and food access. 
•    The adoption of Healthy Schools London by all schools in the Flagship boroughs.
•    The Mayor’s Jobs & Growth Plan
•    A major contribution to the Team London objectives to encourage and enable Londoners to volunteer in their communities 
•    Mayor’s Business Waste Strategy – commercial food waste offers considerable potential to divert waste from landfill, with positive commercial and environmental benefits
•    Economic Development Strategy – food is major employer and offers significant training and apprenticeship potential as well as high potential to increase business start-ups and innovation 
•    The London Plan, including policies on land for food, and emerging Supplementary Planning Guidance documents on lifetime neighbourhoods and access to fresh food 
•    Increased uptake of the Mayor’s Healthy Workplace Charter and Healthy Schools programme in the Flagship boroughs. 

c)    Impact assessments and Consultation
•    The public health specialist will work closely with the two flagship boroughs to support delivery of the healthcare aspects of the Food Flagships. 
•    The borough-level evaluations and programme-level externally commissioned evaluations will involve extensive consultation with multiple stakeholders. 

Financial comments

5.1      The total cost of this proposal is £64,000 and will be funded from income received from NHS London and carried forward to the 2015-16 financial-year, specifically for work relating to the London Improvement Board and the Obesity Programme (for which MD919 approved receipt).

5.2    This decision now supersedes DD1349 and enables the Food Programme allocation of £20,000 originally allocated as part of the proposal approved by DD1349 to be utilised on Project Management Resource subject to the Authority’s decision-making process. All appropriate budget adjustments will be made. 

Planned delivery approach and next steps



Procurement of contract [for Public Health expertise]

w/c 14 September 2015

Procurement of external evaluation partner

15 November 2015

Potential extension of public health contract

14 December 2015

Year 1 Borough evaluations submitted

February 2016

Final Borough level evaluations submitted

February 2017

Final programme level external evaluation complete

March 2017