Internet Explorer is no longer supported by Microsoft. To browse the NIHR site please use a modern, secure browser like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Microsoft Edge.

NIHR LA SPARC – Which Local Authority Can I Go to?

Contents

Published: 22 September 2022

Version: V1.0 (September 2022)

Print this document

This document details those Local Authorities in England who have expressed an in interest in ‘hosting’ LA SPARC placements for NIHR Academy members based within a part of NIHR Infrastructure, HPRU’s and NIHR Schools. The document contains a short summary of the local authority settings areas of interest (e.g active travel, air pollution and health, safeguarding and vulnerable adults etc.) as well as a key contact(s) for interested applicants to get in touch. This document also highlights some of the links/collaborations Local Authority sites may have with the NIHR. 

It is important for applicants when discussing potential placements with Local Authorities to think about what they can contribute or offer to the Local Authority site during their placement and how the two parties might want to work together. 

You can undertake an LA SPARC placement in any Local Authority setting; however you must have discussed and sought agreement/permission from the Local Authority who will ‘host’ your placement before submitting an application. 

This document will continue to be updated as we receive further information.

Please note; this list is by no means exhaustive and we would encourage you to reach out to any Local Authority setting and explore the possibility of undertaking a placement.

Local Authorities

Bedford Borough Council 

Website: https://www.bedford.gov.uk/

Areas of Interest/Focus:

Bedford Borough Council public health team is interested in improving its use of evidence, data and evaluation to inform its work on healthy weight work and sexual health. 

We would be delighted to host an academic visitor who is interested in supporting us to achieve these aims, and who is seeking to gain a strong insight into the practical work of local government. The team has strong relationships across the wider council – with health and reducing health inequalities a core part of the council’s work. 

We have dedicated teams working on:

  • Sexual Health Services: commissioning of sexual health services, and working with system partners to improve early recognition and access to services (e.g. early diagnosis of HIV) 
  • Healthy Weight: working to improve understanding and action on the wider determinants (e.g. active travel, food procurement policies, green and blue space) of healthy eating, physical activity and sleep, and the commissioning of Tier 2 preventive services.
  • Health Protection: working with the UK Health Security Agency to prevent, prepare for and respond to disease outbreaks; ensure effective delivery of screening and immunisation programmes; address the health protection needs of under-represented and disproportionately affected groups.
  • Population Health Evidence & Intelligence: providing system-wide population health intelligence and insight products, including reports, visualisations and infographics; leading on the JSNA process; undertaking bespoke needs assessments and evidence reviews; providing Population Health Management analytics and supporting PHM skills development.

Bedford Borough has a shared public health team that works across three unitary authorities (Bedford Borough, Central Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes). Your work would be supported by Ian Brown (Chief Officer for Public Health) and/or Oliver Mytton (Public Health Consultant, Bedford Borough Council, and Honorary Consultant in Public Health, Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, University College London).

Contact for Further Information

To explore potential placement opportunities please contact:

  • Ian Brown (Chief Officer for Public Health) – for individuals interested in sexual health, health protection, population health evidence & intelligence (E-mail: ian.brown@bedford.gov.uk

Birmingham City Council 

Website: https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/wellbeing

Areas of Interest/Focus:

Birmingham City Council Public Health Team is responsible for protecting and improving the health and wellbeing of c.1.2 million citizens in England’s second city. Our city is vibrant and diverse but faces significant challenges and inequalities. 

Within Birmingham there is almost a decade gap in life expectancy at birth for men between those born in our poorest and richest wards. We have a shared ambition for a Bolder Healthier Birmingham through our Health and Wellbeing Board. 

Areas of work that may be of interest for placements: 

  • A diverse and inclusive city Birmingham is committed to exploring dimensions of socio-economic inequality at a deeper level. From the community profiles pulling together the evidence of inequality for specific communities of identity to our locality profiles and the deep co-production approaches of the Birmingham & Lewisham African and Caribbean Health Inequalities Review and the Birmingham Poverty Truth commission, we are exploring how to use evidence and knowledge to co-produce community owned solutions in Birmingham. 
  • A healthier food city Our city has one of the most vibrant and diverse food systems in the UK and it is at the core of our tourism and hospitality sector, however it is also a system with entrenched inequalities that need to change. Birmingham launched the Global City Food Justice Pledge building on its membership of the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact to call for more action on tackling food insecurity and is actively working on how to address this in practice locally. 
  • A young diverse city working with Birmingham Forward Steps, Birmingham Children’s Trust and other education and community partners we are working to give children born and living in Birmingham a better start in life. We are exploring models of quality improvement and cultural safety in our work and how to achieve sustained improvement in infant mortality. 
  • A green and active city From the City of Nature framework that is focused on tackling environmental justice, to our Clean Air Strategy, the city is intentional in approaching environmental public health issues and doing this in collaboration with our citizens and our stakeholders.

Contact for Further Information

To explore potential placement opportunities please contact Thomas Harwood (Head of Public Health Office) E-mail: Thomas.Harwood@birmingham.gov.uk

Blackpool Council

Website: https://www.blackpool.gov.uk/Home.aspx

Areas of Interest/Focus:

The current areas of focus outlined in our council plan are:

  • Communities: Improving outcomes for young people
  • Communities: Health and social care
  • Communities: Supporting families
  • Communities: Increasing resilience
  • Improving Housing
  • Addressing the Climate Emergency
  • The Economy: maximise growth and opportunity across Blackpool
  • The Economy: visitor experience – tourism and culture
  • The Economy: infrastructure and regeneration
  • The Economy: enterprise, skills and economic inclusion 

Links/Collaborations with the NIHR:

Membership of ARC North West Coast.

Working with the NIHR School for Public Health Research LiLac collaboration on an evaluation of long-acting buprenorphine use in our drug treatment service.

Contact for Further Information

To explore potential placement opportunities please contact: Hannah Maiden (E-mail:Hannah.maiden@blackpool.gov.uk

Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council  

Website: 

Areas of Interest/Focus:

Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council have a shared public health team that works across both local authorities. 

We are particularly interested in the following areas:

  • Health of people with learning disabilities: particularly around physical activity, supporting mainstream health services to make reasonable adjustments and oral health;
  • Health of older adults: particularly around physical activity, oral health and frailty;
  • Supporting primary prevention in adult social care;
  • Inter-professional learning between public health and adult social care workforces.

Contact for Further Information:

To explore potential placement opportunities please contact Emily Smith (Consultant in Public Health); E-Mail: emilyr.smith@cambridgeshire.gov.uk

Central Bedfordshire Council

Website: https://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/

Areas of Interest/Focus:

Central Bedfordshire Council public health team is interested in improving its use of evidence, data and evaluation to inform its tobacco control work and public health action on illicit drug and alcohol use. 

We would be delighted to host an academic visitor who is interested in supporting us to achieve these aims, and who is seeking to gain a strong insight into the practical work of local government. The team has strong relationships across the wider council and other system partners in these areas (e.g. local community mental health services, police). 

We have dedicated teams working on:

  • Tobacco control: delivering smoking cessation services (in-house) with a particular focus on hard to reach groups and responding to health inequalities; and broader tobacco control work with system partners. 
  • Drugs and Alcohol: commissioning of drugs and alcohol services, and working with system partners to improve early recognition and access to services 

Central Bedfordshire has a shared public health team that works across three unitary authorities (Bedford Borough, Central Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes). Your work would be supported by Celia Shohet (Assistant Director - Public Health) and/or Oliver Mytton (Public Health Consultant, Central Bedfordshire, and Honorary Consultant in Public Health, Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, University College London).

Links/Collaborations with the NIHR:

NIHR Public Health Intervention Responsive Teams (PHIRST) evaluation of smoking cessation services and the change from face to face to remote delivery.

Contact for Further Information

To explore potential placement opportunities please contact:Celia Shohet (Assistant Director - Public Health) E-Mail: celia.shohet@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk

Doncaster Council

Website: https://www.doncaster.gov.uk/

Areas of Interest/Focus:

  • new ways of working with the local food system
  • families and food
  • active travel
  • community wealth

Links/Collaborations with the NIHR:

NIHR Health Services & Research Delivery (HS&DR) funded Curiosity Partnership to develop and evaluate a regional capacity building network: facilitating greater understanding, use and production of research in adult social care.

Contact for Further Information

To explore potential placement opportunities please contact: Dr Susan Hampshaw (Head of Public Health Delivery) E-mail: susan.hampshaw@doncaster.gov.uk

Kent County Council

Website: https://www.kent.gov.uk/social-care-and-health/health

Areas of Interest/Focus:

Kent County Council (KCC) Public Health team is committed to improving the health of 1.6 million residents of Kent, the largest county population in England. The Director of Public Health is supported by a team of consultants and specialists and working in close partnership with adult social care and other council directorates, newly formed Kent & Medway Integrated Care Board, 12 district councils and local NHS Trusts, to collectively improve population health and care. 

We are already a well-established training location, hosting a wide range of education, training and researcher placements which are well embedded in the commissioning and delivery of programmes and activities. We are part of a number of research networks including the Kent Surrey Sussex Applied Research Consortium and heavily research active, collaborating on a number of studies with local universities including Kent and Medway Medical School, University of Kent, Canterbury Christ Church University, University of Greenwich and University of Sussex. 

We are a national exemplar in the use of integrated data sets for applied population health analytics including the use of systems thinking tools and techniques for public health practice. 

Key research areas:

  • Mental Health including Mental Wellbeing
  • Alcohol and Substance misuse
  • Gambling and other addictions
  • Domestic abuse
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences
  • Children and adult safeguarding
  • Children in Care
  • Children’s educational settings including learning disabilities
  • Children and adult safeguarding
  • Dental public health
  • Sexual health
  • Maternity and child health
  • Healthy Living Centres
  • NHS Health Checks
  • Obesity including Adult and Child Weight Management services
  • Stop Smoking Services
  • Primary Care including social prescribing
  • Long term conditions (including CVD, Diabetes, Respiratory diseases etc)
  • Falls prevention and frailty
  • Cancer (including early diagnosis)
  • Health protection and wider determinants such as health protection, planning and licencing, environmental, leisure and culture
  • Pandemic Outbreak Consequence Management including surveillance, monitoring
  • Vaccination research including impact of COVID vaccination on pandemic onset, spread and containment

Links/Collaborations with the NIHR:

Kent County Council are collaborating with the NIHR Clinical Research Network Kent Surrey and Sussex (CRN KSS), Academic Health Science Network KSS, NIHR Applied Research Collaboration KSS, NIHR Research Design Services and other stakeholders. 

Contact for Further Information

To explore potential placement opportunities please contact: Dr Edyta McCallum, (Research Innovation & Improvement Senior Programme Manager); E-mail: Edyta.mccallum@nhs.net

Lincolnshire County Council

Website: https://www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/

Areas of Interest/Focus:

Lincolnshire County Council is interested in developing research collaborations across a wide range of areas. Key areas of focus include:

  • Mental Health and Wellbeing, with a particular focus on public health priorities around suicide prevention and whole systems approaches to improving mental wellbeing.
  • Understanding gambling-related harms (to the individual, affected others, communities, etc.) and evidence-based approaches to preventing or reducing harms.
  • Drugs and alcohol prevention and treatment (including illegal drugs, prescription drugs and misuse of over the counter medication).
  • Health and wellbeing in school-aged children including (but not limited to) primary and secondary prevention for areas including sexual health, smoking and vaping, drugs and alcohol, gambling and gaming, and online behaviours.
  • Tackling rural and coastal health inequalities across a wide range of health and wellbeing outcomes.

Contact for Further Information

To explore potential placement opportunities please contact Dr Lucy Gavens (Consultant in Public Health) E-mail: lucy.gavens@lincolnshire.gov.uk

Medway Council

Website: https://www.medway.gov.uk

Areas of Interest/Focus:

  • Health inequalities: understanding how best to take local action to address health inequalities. 
  • Communities in need: how best to reach and engage communities with the greatest need, and which interventions are most suitable, accessible and effective.
  • Health and planning: understanding the best approaches to planning that support and sustain health and wellbeing.
  • Non-traditional health interventions to improve health: such as in arts, culture, leisure.
  • Obesity: suitability, accessibility and effectiveness of child, adult, family-based and whole system approaches.
  • Addressing social isolation: how best to reduce social isolation and support mental health.    

Links/Collaborations with the NIHR:

Funding for health inequalities research

Contact for Further Information

To explore potential placement opportunities please contact:

Middlesbrough Council / Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council

Website: https://www.redcar-cleveland.gov.uk/

Website: https://www.middlesbrough.gov.uk/ 

Areas of Interest/Focus:

We are particularly interested in the wider determinants of health, so would welcome conversations with colleagues interested in areas such as:

  • Regeneration
  • Transport
  • Employment

Contact for Further Information

To explore potential placement opportunities please contact; Scott Lloyd (Advanced Public Health Practitioner); E-mail: scott_lloyd@middlesbrough.gov.uk

Milton Keynes City Council

Website: https://www.milton-keynes.gov.uk/ 

Areas of Interest/Focus:

Milton Keynes City Council public health team is interested in improving its use of evidence, data and evaluation to inform action on the wider determinants of public health. 

We would be delighted to host an academic visitor who is interested in supporting us to achieve these aims, and who is seeking to gain a strong insight into the practical work of local government. The team has strong relationships across the wider council – with health and reducing health inequalities a core part of the council’s work.  

We have dedicated teams working on:

  • Housing & Health: developing relationships with social and council housing teams to directly work with their tenants; renewal estates are a particular area of focus for the council
  • Workplace & Health: leading the development and implementation of healthy workplace standards locally. The standards aim to enable businesses to support and promote the health and wellbeing of their workforce, with a focus on small and medium sized businesses
  • Built Environment & Health: working with colleagues in planning to embed health into the planning process, e.g. through the use of Health Impact Assessment and making a health a core theme in the Local Plan
  • Public Mental Health: working to improve understanding and action on the wider determinants of all-age public mental health across the public and voluntary sector. This includes the commissioning of some preventative services

Milton Keynes has a shared public health team that works across three unitary authorities (Bedford Borough, Central Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes). Your work would be supported by Marimba Carr (Deputy Director of Public Health) and/or Oliver Mytton (Public Health Consultant, Milton Keynes Council, and Honorary Consultant in Public Health, Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, University College London).

Contact for Further Information

To explore potential placement opportunities please contact:

  • Oliver Mytton (Public Health Consultant) – for individuals interested in housing & health, or the built environment & health - Contact: oliver.mytton@milton-keynes.gov.uk

Norfolk County Council

Website: https://www.norfolk.gov.uk/ 

Areas of Interest/Focus:

  • Public health 
  • Community health and wellbeing 
  • Health inequalities 
  • Health in coastal communities 
  • Health protection 
  • Health promotion and behaviour change 
  • Wider determinants of health 
  • Healthcare public health 
  • Active travel

Contact for Further Information

To explore potential placement opportunities please contact Professor Andy Jones (Public Health expert advisor) E-mail: andrew.jones3@norfolk.gov.uk

Nottinghamshire County Council

Website: https://www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/ 

Areas of Interest/Focus:

As an organisation we are keen to support Research, we encourage applicants who wish to focus on issues that are relevant to Adult Care and Public Health. 

Placements could be embedded into commissioning or service improvement teams, focusing on specific "wicked" problems, or service evaluation that focuses on application of research methods.

Links/Collaborations with the NIHR:

We have NIHR funded early career researchers working within our organisation.

Contact for Further Information

To explore potential placement opportunities please contact Kashif Ahmed (Service Director: Strategic Commissioning & Integration) E-mail: kashif.ahmed@nottscc.gov.uk 

Oxfordshire County Council

Website: https://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk 

Areas of Interest/Focus:

  • Air pollution and health
  • Nutrition, diet and exercise
  • Family health and wellbeing
  • Start well, Live Well, Age well
  • Active travel
  • Healthy Place Shaping
  • Domestic Violence
  • Alcohol
  • Homelessness
  • Drug abuse
  • Smoking cessation

Links/Collaborations with the NIHR:

Adam Briggs, the deputy director for public health is a member of the NIHR Oxford and Thames Valley Applied Research Collaboration Strategy Board. 

Our Active Travel research project secured NIHR Public Health Intervention Responsive Teams (PHIRST) funding and is now on the NIHR public health portfolio.

Contact for Further Information

To explore potential placement opportunities please contact Dr Adam Briggs (Deputy Director for Public Health) E-mail: Adam.Briggs@Oxfordshire.gov.uk

Portsmouth City Council

Website: https://www.portsmouth.gov.uk/

Areas of Interest/Focus 

Portsmouth City Council is interested in the following areas, linked to our city's Health and Wellbeing Strategy: 

These strategic priorities are:

  • Tackling poverty
  • Housing
  • Air quality and active travel
  • Positive relationships in safer communities
  • Educational attainment

Further details can be found here: https://www.portsmouth.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/health-and-wellbeing-strategy-january-2022-accessible.pdf

We are also interested in research that addresses:

  • Community and person-centred working, co-production, co-creation in research
  • Practical application of evaluation methodology that takes account of complexity
  • Work that applies/translates theory into practice
  • Research that establishes partnerships across organisational boundaries

Contact for Further Information

To explore potential placement opportunities please contact Gail Mann (Research Development Lead) E-mail: gail.mann@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead

Website: www.rbwm.gov.uk

Areas of Interest/Focus:

Our Local Authority Public Health team is interested in the following areas: 

  • Healthy behaviours - how best to support residents to stay healthy (move more, quit smoking, drink less and healthy diet) and the role of digital as part of this support. 
  • Ensuring every child is ready to start school - working across a range of stakeholders to understand differences in school readiness across the borough and what more we can do to support families 
  • Social isolation - understanding who is affected by social isolation and what we can do to prevent it

Links/Collaborations with the NIHR:

A member of the local authority has held internships with the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration around the application of digital health in increasing uptake of healthy behaviours.

Contact for Further Information

To explore potential placement opportunities please contact Anna Richards (Head of Public Health) anna.richards@rbwm.gov.uk

Somerset County Council

Website: www.somerset.gov.uk

Areas of Interest/Focus:

  • Behaviour change and health psychology applied in local authority settings
  • Cardiovascular disease prevention, particularly addressing hypertension, high LDL, high fasting plasma glucose.
  • Primary prevention and health promotion particularly addressing high body mass index, tobacco control and alcohol use.
  • Suicide/self-harm
  • Transition in local authority - we are currently moving to a unitary structure
  • Delivering public health services in rural areas and coastal deprivation

We would be open to discuss opportunities for those working from home the majority of the time and or living beyond a frequent Somerset commute area. 

We are a friendly and flexible team and are also open to discussing ideas in other areas of public health not on our list, particularly those where Somerset performs poorly. Our JSNA and other data on Somerset is available at:-http://www.somersetintelligence.org.uk/

Contact for Further Information

To explore potential placement opportunities please contact Dr Orla Dunn (Public Health Consultant) E-mail: odunn@somerset.gov.uk

South Tyneside Council 

Website: http://southtyneside.gov.uk/

Areas of Interest/Focus:

Following the refresh of our Health and Wellbeing Strategy (to be published), informed by Community Insight research part funded by the NIHR CRN, our overarching interests are as follows: 

  • Financial security/inclusive economies/cost of living crisis
  • Public mental health and social connectivity
  • Safe and healthy environments (including improving home environments, reducing anti-social behaviour, improving the public realms in the time of austerity)
  • Best Start for Life
  • Fair delivery of services (tackling intervention-generated inequalities)
  • Innovation and effective methods on public involvement and community engagement.

We are interested in the effective implementation of evidence informed interventions as well as supporting the evaluation of innovative policies and practice. We have a broad range of work ongoing and are open to discussions. 

As a relatively small local authority, a placement in South Tyneside would mean that you would be close to decision making within local government, as well as good working relationships with the NHS and other place-based partners. We also offer a supportive learning environment with key members of staff closely connected with the NIHR LCRN. 

Links/Collaborations with the NIHR:

  • Tom Hall, Director of Public Health has public health research time funded by the North East and North Cumbria (NENC) LCRN and Deputy Director (Practice) for the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) NENC Health Inequalities and Marginalised Communities Theme
  • Meg Logan, Research Operations Officer, funded by NENC LCRN and STC
  • Anna Christie, Deputy Clinical Research Specialty Lead – Public Health, NENC LCRN

Contact for Further Information:

To explore potential placement opportunities please contact; 

Surrey County Council

Website: https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/

Areas of Interest/Focus:

  • Migrant health
  • Understanding uptake of vaccination
  • Health and transport/streets/built environment
  • Suicide prevention in young people
  • Children’s public health
  • Applied Behavioural and Social Science
  • Community Resilience Building
  • HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis access and health inequalities
  • Long acting reversible contraception availability and equity of access
  • Reducing unintended teenage conceptions using technology and current information sources
  • Defining components of a sustainable food system to reduce environmental impacts and promote healthy eating

Contact for Further Information

To explore potential placement opportunities please contact;

Negin Sarafraz-Shekary (Public Health Principal); E-mail: sarafrazshekary.negin@surreycc.gov.uk