BACKGROUND: Findings are presented from the evaluation of Public Health England's (PHE) Prioritization Framework (PF) aimed to assist local authority commissioners with their public health investment and disinvestment decisions. The study explored the take up of the PF in three early adopter local authority settings.
METHODS: Semi-structured interviews (n = 30) across three local authorities supplemented by participant observation of workshops.
RESULTS: Participants acknowledged that the PF provided a systematic means of guiding priority-setting and one that encouraged transparency over investment and disinvestment decisions. The role performed by PHE and its regional teams in facilitating the process was especially welcomed and considered critical to the adoption process. However, uptake of the PF required a significant investment of time and commitment from public health teams at a time when resources were stretched. The impact of the political environment in the local government was a major factor determining the likely uptake of the PF. Ensuring committed leadership and engagement from senior politicians and officers was regarded as critical to success.
CONCLUSIONS: The study assessed the value and impact of PHE's PF tool in three early adopter local authorities. Further research could explore the value of the tool in aiding investment and disinvestment decisions and its impact on spending.