Understanding the wider workforce in public health

Understanding the wider workforce in public health

A report, published by the CfWI and the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), has found that at least 15 million people contribute to the public health agenda in England - ranging from police and fire personnel, to opticians and housing officers.

Commissioned by the Department of Health (DH), Health Education England (HEE) and Public Health England (PHE), Understanding the wider public health workforce in England is the first report of its kind to look at the wider public health workforce. Through this review, the CfWI and RSPH have identified the size and scope of this workforce, provided examples of its work and looked at possible professional development needs for strengthening this important service.

Through data analysis and extensive engagement with those working in various public health settings, the CfWI and RSPH were able to reach an estimate of the numbers of workers (by headcount) currently employed in roles that give them the opportunity to positively impact health and wellbeing through their work.  Up to another 5 million people provide unpaid services.

The study found that the wider public health workforce can be found across the public, private and third sectors, in a broad range of organisations and professions as paid employees and volunteers. This includes social care providers, police and fire services, housing and education, sports and leisure, local communities, as well as a wide breadth of healthcare workforces such as allied health professionals, pharmacists and midwives. 

In order to build on this analysis the CfWI and the RSPH have made a number of suggestions to PHE, HEE and the DH, which seek  to help inform their future workforce planning policy decisions around the wider public health workforce.

These suggestions include:

  • championing the disparate workforces and building opportunities to share best practice;
  • improving the quality of wider workforce interventions and recognising its achievements;
  • continuing to research and gather evidence to demonstrate the value of the workforce and the progress it is making.

The full report can be downloaded below, along with an associated infographic.

Related downloads

Understanding the wider public health workforce in England infographic Download PDF document
Understanding the wider public health workforce Download PDF document