Agenda item

Covering Report of the Director of Public Health, attached.


The Annual Report has been circulated separately (sent to all Councillors) and can be found on the website at


RESOLVED that the Annual Report of the Director of Public Health 2020-21 be received and the recommendations, as outlined above, be noted.


(Councillors Connett, Dewhirst, Hannaford, Hodgson and Whitton attended in accordance with Standing Order 25(2) and spoke to this item).


The Cabinet considered the Report of the Director of Public Health presenting the Public Health Annual Report for 2020/21, which was available on the website at A hard copy of the full Report had been sent to all Members of the Council.


The Cabinet noted that the Director of Public Health had a statutory duty to write an annual report, and the local authority had a statutory duty to publish it in line with section 73B [5] & [6] of the 2006 NHS Act, inserted by section 31 of the 2012 Health and Social Care Act.This enabled the Director of Public Health to make an independent judgement about the state of the health of the local population.


The Annual Public Health Report before the Cabinet was the fourteenth in a series of annual reports on the health of the population of Devon which began in 2007/08, but this was the first Report of the current Director. Each Report covered the general health of the population of Devon; although increasingly the detail about health and wellbeing could be found in the annual Joint Strategic Needs Assessment available at:


The current Annual Report looked back over the past twelve months, describing the story of COVID-19, assessing the impact it had had on people’s lives, and on local services, workplaces and businesses. 


The Report was structured to give a timeline of significant dates and events during the past twelve months and then covered the key impacts of the pandemic on individuals, families and how inequalities had been exacerbated due to the pandemic.  It also considered the wider impact on communities and society and reflected on how communities came together to respond and support one another. It then highlighted how the learning from previous events could act as a guide in working together to recover from the pandemic. 


The Report contained a number of recommendations to help us live safely with COVID during the years to come, and help Build Back Fairer. 

The ten recommendations of the Public Health Annual Report were;


1.     Public Health Devon, working with colleagues within the Council, the NHS and Public Health England, maintain a comprehensive COVID-19 surveillance system to provide real-time monitoring data to enable swift and decisive actions to any increase in cases or outbreaks.

2.     An effective local testing and contract tracing service, run by Public Health Devon, be maintained for as long as required to support the NHS Test and Trace service.

3.     The local authority’s health protection function be reviewed in the light of the pandemic and the relationship with the new UK Health Security Agency* (replacing Public Health England) be established.

4.     Lessons from reviews of the response informs how the Council prepares for and responds to future communicable disease outbreaks and shapes the recovery.

5.     Devon County Council continues to work with NHS partners and other stakeholders to promote the uptake of the COVID-19 vaccination programme, with a particular focus on addressing inequalities in uptake.

6.     Public Health Devon continues to advocate for and contribute to Devon-wide, as well as place-based, plans for tackling poverty and reducing health inequalities.

7.     Public Health Intelligence Team and Smarter Devon, with stakeholders, coordinate the gathering and sharing of intelligence on the wider impacts of the pandemic in Devon and that this be used to inform partners’ recovery plans.

8.     Public Health Devon continues to advocate for a collaborative, cross-sector asset-based approach to reducing inequalities ensuring that communities’ assets, priorities and perspectives are understood by, and inform the support offered by, organisations.

9.     Recovery programmes should be based on the evidence of what works to reduce health inequalities.

10.  Review how agencies’ policies and programmes and the use of impact assessment tools harness the potential for addressing the climate emergency and reducing inequalities.


The matter having been debated, it was MOVED by Councillor Croad, SECONDED by Councillor Hart, and


RESOLVED that the Annual Report of the Director of Public Health 2020-21 be received and the recommendations, as outlined above, be noted.

Supporting documents: