Sustainable social care programme

Sustainable social care and health and wellbeing boards

Policy and strategy

Sustainability supports a range of policies and features of the health and social care landscape following the Health and Social Care Act 2012, particularly the work of health and wellbeing boards. For example,

SCIE’s research shows that political engagement and organisational leadership are significant enablers of sustainability in social care. Therefore, health and wellbeing boards and their constituent members have an especially important role to play. There is also a role for people who use services as environmental leaders in driving change and stimulating the market for more sustainable care services.

Other members of the health and wellbeing board, such as Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), have duties with respect to environmental sustainability. CCGs are required to commit to promoting environmental sustainability ‘through their actions as a corporate body as well as a commissioner’.


... developing more integrated forms of care, and removing duplication and redundancy from care pathways all have the potential to reduce environmental impacts while improving patient experience and outcomes.

Chris Naylor and John Appleby, Sustainable health and social care:  Connecting environmental and financial performance (King’s Fund 2012)

Health and wellbeing boards are a key part of broader plans to encourage more integrated commissioning and delivery of health and social care services. An integrated approach to health and social care will be socially, economically and environmentally sustainable as a result of reduced duplication and hence less waste of resources, as well as improved patient and service user experience (which itself can accelerate recovery).

Health and wellbeing boards and their constituent members can, therefore, work collectively and individually to promote sustainable health and social care in the way that they structure their business and integrate the design and delivery of services.

Resources for health and wellbeing boards

See SCIE’s briefing on sustainable health and social care for health and wellbeing boards, produced in association with the Sustainable Development Unit.

The SDU has also produced a downloadable Health and Wellbeing Board toolkit, with case studies, developed in conjunction with eight health and wellbeing boards across the country.  The toolkit covers themes including housing, family and community, and services.

Produced by the Environment Agency and SDU, Under the Weather V2 - Improving health, wellbeing and resilience in a changing climate (March 2015) is a toolkit to assist health and wellbeing boards (HWBs) in integrating climate change adaptation into the local health economy. It also highlights how Joint Strategic Needs Assessments (JSNA) and Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategies (JHWS) can be used to achieve this aim, for the benefit of communities.

See also: