In its first ten years, DECIPHer undertook a diverse range of studies influencing and evaluating national public health policy decisions. Examples include evaluation of the National Exercise Referral Scheme, which continues to be implemented across Wales ten years after the trial, and research cited by Welsh Government as informing their decision to ban smoking in cars carrying children. From 2020, the new Healthy Public Policy programme will build on this work, aiming to influence decisions by national and local government organisations to improve population health and reduce inequalities, while evaluating the implementation and impacts of these decisions. With a particular focus on child and adolescent health and health inequalities, we will work with DECIPHer’s young people’s public involvement group ALPHA to shape the direction and priorities of the programme throughout the next five years.
Building on our track record in tobacco policy and its impacts on young people’s exposure to and use of tobacco, key policy areas will include regulation of unhealthy commodities. This will involve close partnership with the UKPRP consortium Shaping Public hEalth poliCies To RedUce harm (SPECTRUM), whose investigator team includes two members of the DECIPHer co-investigator team (Professor Graham Moore and Doctor Julie Bishop).
The programme will also focus on health impacts of policy decisions beyond the health sector, including education, social care, and welfare policy, linking to all three of DECIPHer’s other research programmes. It will connect to the Healthy Settings programme via work focused on education policy, such as ongoing research on implementation of curriculum reform in Wales. It will connect to the Healthy Social Relationships programme through work focused on child poverty and domestic abuse; a leading expert in domestic abuse policy, Prof Amanda Robinson, joins the DECIPHer team in 2020. This programme will also provide case examples of methodological innovation in policy evaluation and policy implementation research, connecting to our methodology teaching and research programme.
A major source of data for this work package, which will continue to be used to influence and evaluate government policy, will be the bi-ennial School Health Research Network (SHRN), Student Health and Wellbeing surveys, which are now linked to routine data via the SAIL databank. DECIPHer will work with the SPECTRUM consortium in extending the monthly smoking and alcohol toolkit surveys from England into Wales, and maximising their impact on policy decisions in Wales.
Current or very recent policy-focused studies
‘Food and Fun’ School Holiday Enrichment Programme (SHEP)
Does local authority care make a difference to the lives of vulnerable children? Longitudinal analyses of a retrospective electronic cohort
Impacts of e-cigarette regulation via the EU Tobacco Products Directive on young people’s use of e-cigarettes : a natural experiment
Implementation and PRocess Evaluation of South Wales Hospital Based Violence Intervention Programmes (PREVIP)
Integration of health and wellbeing into the school curriculum: A mixed methods investigation of preparations for Wales-wide curriculum reform and its impacts on health and well-being
Public Health Intervention Responsive Studies Teams (PHIRST)
Review Of Statutory School and Community-Based Counselling Services and Research & Design Of a Pilot for Primary Aged Children
Theory of Change and Evaluability Assessment for the Whole School Approach to Mental Health
An evaluation of the National Exercise Referral Scheme in Wales
CHETS – Changes In Child Exposure To Environmental Tobacco Smoke Wales
CHETS 2 – Changes In Child Exposure To Environmental Tobacco Smoke Wales 2: Research Into Smoking In Cars Carrying Children
Effects of long-term NERS implementation