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Health Impact Assessment (HIA)

A Health Impact Assessment (HIA) is a tool used for significant decisions, plans, or strategies to enhance health benefits and mitigate health inequities. Our environments and circumstances, such as education, housing, access to green spaces, jobs, and finances, significantly influence our wellbeing. Implementing an HIA can help to make sure we’re enabling better outcomes for our residents by promoting things that improve health, and reducing the risk of things that can make our health worse.

A HIA can be used for any project, programme or development, of any size, where there are potential risks or benefits to health and wellbeing. 

Use of HIA can also help create “win-win” solutions, for example, well-designed spatial planning can increase physical activity, improve mental health and reduce carbon emissions, which also helps air quality and the environment. 

Not all proposals need a HIA. This will depend on the type, scale and location of the strategy, policy, plan or programme. For further information please read the  Health Impact Assessments: What Are They.

There are two distinct types of HIA:

  • Core HIA: This type of assessment is used when a decision needs to be made quickly. It can take up to 12 weeks to complete and is typically completed by one assessor, pulling on knowledge and resources from partners where necessary. It provides a general overview of potential health impacts, as well as the benefits of the proposal to the health and wellbeing of the relevant population. This HIA assessment is a tool to take you through the steps of a Core HIA. It is designed to be completed by you and/or your department and complements a Community Impact Assessment (CIA) (where relevant). 

Core HIA template (245 Kb)
Core HIA Guidance (182 Kb)

  • Comprehensive HIA: For projects or programs with strategic, reputational, or financial significance, a Comprehensive HIA may be more appropriate. A typical comprehensive HIA taking at least 6 months  and involves collaboration with all key stakeholders, incorporating expertise for each section. It includes an extensive review of literature, data, and best practices to guide decision-making.

Comprehensive HIA template (533 Kb)
Comprehensive HIA guidance (261 Kb)


Getting Started...

Before you start to complete the HIA template it is important to think about:

  • Relevant stakeholders / key experts – consider involvement, engagement and / or consultation with colleagues and stakeholders with relevant expertise to ensure that a full range of views are considered.  This will help shape the design/outcomes of the strategy, policy, plan or programme.

  • Impact - consider the impact the proposal may have on each of the different categories and identify the benefits/risks associated with the proposal. Potential impacts should not be included if it is considered highly unlikely that they would occur.

  • Groups affected – consider people who are likely to be affected by the strategy, policy, plan or programme. This could be people in a particular area, a street, or a group of people with similar characteristics e.g. older people, young people or people with care needs.  Also consider staff, residents and other external stakeholders. It should pay considerable attention to vulnerable and disadvantaged groups to maximise positive impacts and minimise negative ones, aiming to reduce inequalities in health, rather than exacerbate them.

  • Evidence of impact - identify what evidence you will use to best understand or predict the impact. This may be information from the proposal, research, any data you have used etc.

  • Recommendations – consider any recommendations to maximise benefits and minimise / mitigate risks.

  • Monitoring and reporting – consider how you will follow up on recommendations and impacts and monitor/report your findings.

Please click the button below to complete a CORE Health Impact Assessment.

CORE Health Impact Assessment

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