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Dorset Health and Wellbeing Board

Information about the Dorset Health and Wellbeing Board.

The county council is required to establish a Health and Wellbeing Board (HWB) under the Health and Social Care Act 2012 and ours assumed full powers in April 2013.

The government's vision for the creation of HWBs is that the boards will present an opportunity to join up local services, create new partnerships with general practitioners (GPs) and deliver greater democratic accountability.

Local authorities were given discretion in setting up boards to ensure they reflect local needs, which means that many different approaches emerged. The biggest challenge is for the board to deliver strong, credible and shared leadership across local organisational boundaries.

These pages have been designed to provide information about the Dorset HWB and its function, plus useful links to resources.

The purpose of the Dorset Health and Wellbeing Board and the Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy (JHWS)

The HWB is the integrated governing board through which senior representatives of key partner organisations will:

  • give strategic leadership and direction through the agreement of outcomes for health and wellbeing across Dorset, based on a Joint Strategic Needs Assessment - this will enable recommendations to be made for prioritising investment across organisations to deliver these outcomes through the publication of the Dorset Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy (pdf, 1Mb) (opens in a new window) 
  • drive change through an outcomes based approach
  • be accountable and responsible for better outcomes for people's health and wellbeing in Dorset by facilitating collaboration and promoting integrated commissioning to support the delivery of cost effective services

Dorset Health and Wellbeing Board - Terms of Reference and Constitution (pdf, 462kb) (opens in a new window)

A new Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy for 2016 to 2019 has been produced and the draft was circulated for consultation between June and July 2016.  The new strategy will focus on three key priorities: 

  • reducing inequalities
  • promoting healthy lifestyles and preventing ill health
  • working better together to deliver prevention and early intervention at scale, high quality care and better value

Following the period of consultation, the draft strategy was considered by the HWB on 31 August 2016.  The consultation responses (pdf, 646kb) (opens in a new window) have as far as possible been incorporated into the final version of the strategy.

The Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy is closely linked to the Sustainability and Transformation Plan for Dorset, which has been led by the NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group.  Our Dorset (pdf, 1Mb) (opens in a new window) sets out the pan-Dorset vision for local health and care, and the role for the Health and Wellbeing Boards will be to lead on efforts to close the health and wellbeing gap, with 'prevention at scale' at the heart of this.

Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) and Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment (PNA)

Local authorities and clinical commissioning groups have equal and joint duties to prepare JSNAs/PNAs and Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategies (which must be informed by the JSNA) through their Health and Wellbeing Boards.

The work programme for the Dorset JSNA is co-ordinated via a Commissioning and Intelligence Group - a pan-Dorset group which is chaired by Public Health Dorset. Data from the JSNA can be found on the  Public Health Dorset website (opens in a new window) and each subsection will be populated during 2016.

The PNA is a statutory requirement in accordance with the NHS (Pharmaceutical Services and Local Pharmaceutical Services) (Amendment) Regulations 2013 and it is a statement of the needs of the population of an area in relation to pharmaceutical services.

The Dorset Health and Wellbeing Board and the Bournemouth and Poole Health and Wellbeing Board hold the statutory responsibility for the PNA, and they agreed a single  PNA (opens in a new window) for the whole of Dorset for publication on 1 April 2015, following consultation.


The HWB is made up of people from a range of organisations, and includes council officers and elected members, NHS officers, local GPs from the Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group and representatives from the police, the fire and rescue service and the voluntary sector.

Dorset Health and Wellbeing Board - who's who (pdf, 435kb) (opens in a new window)

The Chair of the Dorset HWB is Cllr Rebecca Knox and the Deputy Chair is Dr Forbes Watson.


Formal HWB meetings are held at least four times a year. The meetings are open to the public and press. They are held in the afternoons on a Wednesday at County Hall in Dorchester and dates for 2017 are:

  • 1 March 2017
  • 21 June 2017
  • 13 September 2017
  • 8 November 2017

The  Annual Review 2015/16 (pdf, 911kb) (opens in a new window) highlights some of the topics that have been under discussion in the past year and sets out key recommendations and actions that were implemented as a result of four specific reviews. In addition, the review outlines the development work that the board has undertaken and the priorities for 2016/17.

Agendas and papers 

Agenda items are agreed via a forward plan which is discussed at each HWB meeting. In line with other committees of the county council, agendas are published and dispatched at least eight clear days before the meeting. The agendas and papers can be found online at Dorset County Council Committee - Dorset Health and Wellbeing Board (opens in a new window), including the forward plan which is updated prior to each board meeting.

Links with partners

One of the key purposes of the HWB is to bring together a range of agencies and individuals to work collectively to support health and wellbeing.  In Dorset this is partly being achieved via work in each of the six localities (Christchurch and East Dorset, North Dorset, Purbeck, West Dorset and Weymouth and Portland), which is led by district and borough council representatives and GP representatives.  The latest updates for Christchurch (pdf, 561kb) (opens in a new window), West Dorset (pdf, 46kb) (opens in a new window) , Purbeck (pdf, 284kb) (opens in a new window)North Dorset (pdf, 707kb) (opens in a new window)East Dorset (pdf, 384kb) (opens in a new window) and  Weymouth and Portland (pdf, 284kb) (opens in a new window) outline the work taking place in those localities.

Each of the district and borough councils will, in time, produce their response to the Dorset Health and Wellbeing Strategy.  Links to further information about each of the councils' documents will be added here, but in the meantime you can view Christchurch and East Dorset's Executive Summary for their Health Improvement Statement (pdf, 2Mb) (opens in a new window).

The HWB has also established links with a range of partner organisations and bodies, to work collectively on our key aims.  These include:

The publication of  Dorset Local Transformation Plan for Children and Young People's Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health (pdf, 1Mb) (opens in a new window) illustrates one of the ways in which the HWB has supported multi-agency working.  The plan was produced jointly by the Clinical Commissioning Group, Public Health Dorset and the three local authorities (Dorset, Poole and Bournemouth).

This Transformation Plan outlines Dorset's approach to meet the themes and recommendations in "Future in Mind: Promoting, protecting and improving our children and young people's mental health" (DH and NHS England, 2015) and the "Access and Waiting Time Standard for Children and Young People with an Eating Disorder" (NHS England, 2015) over the next five years.

Links and resources 

The following information provides some useful background resources and links to key partners. 

Public Health Dorset and the Dorset Joint Strategic Needs Assessment

Public Health Dorset (opens in a new window)

Public Health Dorset: Understanding Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (opens in a new window) Guidance - JSNAs and JHSW statutory guidance (opens in a new window)

The Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group

NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (opens in a new window)


Healthwatch Dorset (opens in a new window)

Health Scrutiny

Dorset Health Scrutiny Committee

Health inequalities

Fair Society Healthy Lives - the Marmot review (opens in a new window)

The King's Fund - Inequalities in life expectancy (opens in a new window)

Local Government Association (LGA) - Health and Wellbeing systems

The LGA offers support to health and wellbeing boards and publishes a wide range of useful resources on their website (opens in a new window)


If you have any questions about the Dorset HWB, please contact Rachel Partridge.





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