What is a Joint Strategic Needs Assessment?

The Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) is a process by which the current and future health and wellbeing needs of the local population are described and considered. It exists to highlight inequalities between different groups of the population and aid commissioning and strategic decision making.

 Who is responsible for the JSNA?

In Lewisham a revised JSNA process was agreed by the Health and Wellbeing Board in 2017 with the aims of achieving wider stakeholder engagement; better determining local priorities and providing a more strategic overview of needs. This process also re-established a JSNA steering group, which has responsibility to prioritise JSNA topic proposals and approve them for Health and Wellbeing Board sign off. The group also exists to promote the JSNA and share best practice. The group has representation from across partners in health and social care in Lewisham, including the voluntary sector.

What does the JSNA in Lewisham look like?

The Lewisham JSNA is held entirely online. It consists of an annually updated ‘Picture of Lewisham’ which describes the population of Lewisham in terms of the key health and socio-demographic characteristics, including mortality, morbidity, ethnicity and inequalities. This is supported by in-depth JSNA topic assessments which focus on a specific illness, population or subject, e.g. cancer, young people in contact with the criminal justice system, air quality.

 How are the key topics selected for the needs assessments?

Topic assessment proposals are requested annually. These are assessed and scored against a Prioritisation Matrix, by the JSNA Steering Group. The Prioritisation Matrix is a tool which has been developed to objectively assess and rank topic assessment proposals, it asks proposers to consider the reach and impact their proposed topic has on the local population and whether the topic aligns with any national or local priorities. The topics which score highest are approved and taken forward.

Who carries out the needs assessments?

Public Health lead on the assessments, in collaboration with the team/organisation who have nominated the topic assessment and other relevant teams.

What happens to the recommendations of the JSNA?

Each JSNA topic assessment is sent to local health and social care commissioners, where commissioning plans and strategies can and should be informed by the assessment. Commissioners use the needs assessment to help them make judgements about where to prioritise limited resources. It may not be possible to take forward all the recommendations made in a JSNA topic assessment, but the information is critical for their decision making processes. JSNA topic assessment also make recommendations for service providers, when developing local services.