Public health law, regulation and policy for prevention
What did we do?
This knowledge synthesis aimed to combine the expertise of research, policy and communication experts to draw out policy-relevant lessons from research conducted by the Prevention Centre.
The findings described below are based on evidence drawn from 12 projects and 40 peer-reviewed publications and reports, with half of those publications focused on big policy issues and the other half on law and regulation.
The public health topics included food, alcohol, tobacco, physical activity, immunisation and road safety, and the research focused on local, state and territory and national levels of government. The types of research undertaken were: regulatory analyses; developing new methods or indicators to support evaluation; investigating governance and policy frameworks; evaluating impact on health or behaviour; perspectives on regulation; and industry relationships and tactics.
We asked our policy partners about the implications of our body of research into aspects of public health law, regulation and policy, has on their current and planned work.
What did we find?
- We found public health law can provide rules and frameworks to shape the social and commercial determinants of health.
- Public health law can help make the case for prevention and is supported by the community.
- There are opportunities for public health law to strengthen a co-benefits approach across health and other sectors.
- A range of different types of research and evidence can make valuable contributions to public health law making.
- Researcher/policy networks are important for engagement of policy partners in public health law research.
Opportunities for further research
There is also a need for research to better describe and understand what design features of public health laws are or are not effective, providing useful evidence for policy makers developing and implementing public health laws. Cross-government and inter-jurisdictional collaboration as well as working with other agencies will also be important for identifying joint learning opportunities from other experiences and to demonstrate co-benefits.