What new insights into the Government’s developing view of Responsibility Deal’s is offered by the publication of the public health white paper? Perhaps most significant is the ‘tough love’. It is made explicit that “if these partnership approaches fail to work, the Government will consider the case for ‘moving up’ the intervention ladder where necessary. For example, if voluntary commitments from business are not met after an agreed time period, we will consider the case for introducing change through regulation in the interests of people’s health.” The related impact assessments on the white paper do not identify any immediate competition impacts, but we assume that there will be a more detailed impact assessment, at a later date, of the draft Responsibility Deal.
“Working collaboratively with business and the voluntary sector through the Public Health Responsibility Deal with five networks on food, alcohol, physical activity, health at work and behaviour change. We plan to launch the Deal in ealy 2011 and expect to be able to announce agreements on further reformulation of food to reduce salt; better information for consumers about food; and promotion of more socially responsible retailing and consumption of alcohol. It will also develop the Change4Life campaign, for example through the ‘Great Swapathon’, £250million of parter-funded vouchers to make healthy lifestyle choices easier.” (pg 7)
“Businesses musttake more responsibility for the impact of their practices on people’s health and wellbeing. The Government will work collaboratively with business and the voluntary sector through a new Responsibility Deal.” (Pg 25)
“Working through our new Public Health Responsibility Deal, the Government will aim to base these approaches on voluntary agreements with business and other partners, rather than resorting to regulation or top-down lectures. However, if these partnership approaches fail to work, the Government will consider the case for ‘moving up’ the intervention ladder where necessary. For example, if voluntary commitments from business are not met after an agreed time period, we will consider the case for introducing change through regulation in the interests of people’s health.” (pg 30)
“Rather than central government naggin individuals and business to become more healthy, we believe that sustained behavior change will only come about with a new approach – genuine partnership.” (pg 38)
“The Department of Health will work in partnership with employers, through the Public Health Responsibility Deal, to improve health at work. Employers have the opportunity to improve health outcomes in areas from obesity to smoking, substance misuse and physical activity in their employees, employees’ families and wider local communities. They can achieve this through establishing a strong cultural lead, strengthening management training in recognising and responding to the health needs of the workforce, and working more closely with others, particularly occupational health and primary care.” (pg 46)