South Australia's HiAP approach

Health in All Policies is about promoting healthy public policy, based on the understanding that health is not merely the product of health care activities, but is influenced by a wide range of social, economic, political, cultural and environmental determinants of health. Actions to address complex, multi-faceted ‘wicked problems’ such as preventable chronic disease and health care expenditure require joined-up policy responses.

The South Australian Health in All Policies initiative is an approach to working across government to better achieve public policy outcomes and deliver co-benefits for agencies involved including to improve population health and wellbeing.

Established in 2007, the successful implementation of Health in All Policies in South Australia has been supported by a high level mandate from central government, an overarching framework which is supportive of a diverse program of work, a commitment to work collaboratively and in partnership across agencies, and a strong evaluation process.

Since 2007, the South Australian Health in All Policies approach has evolved to remain relevant in a changing context. However, the purpose and core principles of the approach remain unchanged.

The South Australian Health in All Policies model seeks to build strong intersectoral relationships across government and facilitate policy work of co-benefit to the health sector and partnering sector. By incorporating a focus on population health into the policy development process of different agencies, the government is able to better address the social determinants of health in a systematic manner.

Background of the Health in All Policies concept

Health in All Policies was the principal recommendation of Professor Kickbusch as the 2007 Adelaide Thinker in Residence. Professor Ilona Kickbusch is an internationally renowned public health, health promotion and global health expert. She proposed that a HiAP approach would provide a strategic mechanism to achieve improved health and wellbeing outcomes, and at the same time, assist in achieving the targets of South Australia’s Strategic Plan (SASP).

HiAP is an innovation that South Australia has introduced to further its commitment to joined-up government. Importantly, the South Australian Health in All Policies approach extends the European HiAP work to strengthen the focus on improving health and wellbeing through the achievement of the goals of other sectors, and contributes to bridging the gap between theory and practice.