Re-launching a tired cross-party group to tackle one of Britain’s biggest public health threats.
Tackling obesity is one of the greatest public health challenges in the United Kingdom, yet the dedicated forum for discussion of policy in this area had been allowed to fall into abeyance. The Whitehouse Team, being acknowledged experts in this policy area, were commissioned by Slimming World and with the engagement of the National Obesity Forum and a range of other commercial weight-loss companies, with the task of relaunching the group with cross-party support, to provide it with a functioning secretariat and with an effective strategy for influencing government policy to improve public health and reduce costs for the National Health Service.
We promptly secured cross-party support for the launch of the Group, engaging prominent parliamentarians from all major political parties and both Houses of Parliament to serve as the Chair and officers of the All-Party Parliamentary Group. We developed a programme of briefing meetings with medical and scientific experts and campaigning groups to improve the quality of debate on public health policy; and we developed a pro-active campaign to use the opportunities afforded in both Houses of Parliament to move the issue up the political agenda.
Whitehouse’s support for political engagement through the group positioned it successfully as the natural forum for discussion and the most effective vehicle for parliamentary and political action on public policy on obesity. It led indirectly to the adoption of a series of major, cross-departmental strategies being adopted and published by government to improve public health, from pre-school children to the elderly.
Whitehouse’s professional insight and practical support enabled us significantly to raise the political profile of obesity; and to bring to debate on the issue a focus and intensity that it previously lacked.