The Devolution Group was redesignated a Strategic Interest Group in March 2007 in recognition its broad and multi-thematic scope. Unlike the SIGs, its membership is made up of a relatively small number of representatives from across the nations of the UK and Ireland but it is not open to all UKPHA members. If you are interested in the work of the SIG and would like to find out more, or if you are keen to become involved, please contact the SIG.


The mission of the Devolution Strategic Interest Group is to promote the dissemination of information about the ongoing development of public health policy, practice and structures in the four countries of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland with a view to determining the utility of different approaches through comparative analysis.

StIG at the Annual Public Health Forum

The StIG presented a successful workshop at this year’s Annual Public Health Forum. Colin Thunhurst gave a very thought provoking presentation on levels of decision making on transport and health issues. After a lively discussion the StIG agreed to press for the development of comprehensive public transport systems in all jurisdictions sensitive to local needs to promote walking and cycling.

StIG Reports

The theme for the group’s first report was comparing public health in the five countries, building on the workshop that they held at the 14th Annual Public Health Forum in 2006. The report is entitled ‘Learning from Differences Between the Four Countries of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland’.

The group’s second report focussed on one of the major public health problems of the 21st century - namely overnutrition and obesity.

The StIG’s report for 2008, its third, is on Transport and Health.

In its fourth year of operation the StIG has reviewed its work on transport and health and succeeded in getting this topic included as a sub-theme in the 2009 UKPHA Forum. A paper arising from last year’s report on Transport and Health has been published in the UKPHA E-supplement in Public Health.

As another direct result of the StIG’s work discussions are in hand on linking its continuing interest in transport and health with the work of the Transport and Health Study Group with the aim of continuing to press for greater priority for this key area of public health.

A new developing interest of the Group is how the public health function in the five countries of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland is configured. There are significant differences between the five countries which we hope to document and evaluate.


This StIG holds monthly teleconferences around the second Monday of the month and would welcome information about similar projects and is particularly keen to hear from representatives of the various English regions.

For more information please contact Paul Walker, StIG chair.

Documents of interest:

E. Coyle et al, “Transport and health - a five-country perspective” paper from Public Health journal.

David Rowland, “Mapping Communicable Disease Control Administration in the UK: Between Devolution and Europe”.

Tom Smith and Eleanor Babbington, “Devolution: a map of divergence in the NHS”

Links of interest to SIG members:

Wellbeing Wales website: