Towards governance for health equity

Work Package Eight: Governance & Health Equity

Work Package Leader: Jeff Collin, University of Edinburgh

Aim: To identify how health governance and regulatory mechanisms can be used to develop coherent approaches to tackling the health and social impacts of unhealthy commodity industries.


  • Analyse how policy coherence can be promoted to enhance NCD governance;
  • Examine how engagement and conflicts of interest with unhealthy commodity producers are understood and managed across policy and research contexts;
  • Use participatory research methods to inform innovation and address unintended consequences of NCD governance.

Methods and Data Sources:

This work entails understanding opportunities for and barriers to integrated approaches to NCD prevention, identifying potential mechanisms to promote co-ordination across policy areas that are typically siloed. We are contributing to the development of WHO tools to promote policy coherence in tobacco control and to manage conflict of interest in nutrition policy, and we will build on this by examining challenges to policy coherence in alcohol policy (drawing on qualitative interviews and participatory approaches to develop guidance for managing conflict of interest). We will assess the adequacy of current practices via multiple methods – including systematically reviewing researchers’ perceptions of conflict of interest and of the effectiveness of existing governance tools; analysing levels of funding of UK research institutions from unhealthy commodity industries (using FOI requests to supplement document analysis); and exploring scope to strengthen policies across universities, funders and professional associations via key stakeholder interviews. 

We will also inform the ongoing development of UKPRP guidance on collaboration with commercial actors through an examination of their roles in UKPRP consortia and networks (using a survey and interviews with researchers and partners from across multiple sectors). We will examine how the development of a systems approach to understanding determinants can drive innovation in regulation and governance, drawing on systems mapping in WP1 to explore new policy options (via stakeholder dialogue with policymakers, officials and CSOs), including use of legal and regulatory mechanisms to stimulate cross-sectoral working. We will use Citizens’ Juries to build on work undertaken in WP5 to explore neighbourhood social norms and maximize the legitimacy and acceptability of policy innovation and of legal and other regulatory frameworks for NCD prevention. Throughout our WP, we will work with partner organisations – notably the Poverty Alliance and NCD Alliance – to explore how such approaches can best contribute to wider inequality and poverty reduction agendas.