The Joint Strategic Needs Assessment

A Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) looks at the current and future health and care needs of local populations to inform and guide the planning and commissioning (buying) of health, well-being and care services within a local authority area.


  • Is concerned with wider social factors that have an impact on people’s health and wellbeing, such as housing, poverty and employment
  • Looks at the health of the population, with a focus on behaviours which affect health such as smoking, diet and exercise
  • Provides a common view of health and care needs for the local community
  • Identifies health inequalities

Who is the JSNA for?

The main audience for the JSNA are health and social care commissioners who use it to plan services.

It can also be used as an evidence base for preparing bids and business cases, by the voluntary and community sector to ensure community needs and views are represented, by service providers to assist in the future development of their services, and by the public to scrutinise local health and wellbeing information.

What does the JSNA look like in Devon?

JSNAs are flexible and enable local areas to focus on the priorities and present information in the way most relevant to them. JSNA resources in Devon can be found here and include:


  • This document, the Devon Overview, which looks at the overall pattern of health and care needs in the county, including the impact of population change, deprivation and economic conditions
  • Community Health and Wellbeing Profiles, providing a wide range of health and care information for geographic areas, including towns, local authorities, and GP practices
  • The Devon Health and Wellbeing Outcomes Report, which monitors progress against the priorities identified in the Devon Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy
  • Locality Health Improvement Plans, which guide the work of the Public Health team and colleagues working in the NHS, the local authority and other organisations, identifying both priority issues and priority communities within local areas
  • Outcomes reports, data downloads and links to other related documents
  • A comprehensive library of topic based information, including needs assessments

Who is involved in producing the JSNA in Devon?

Under the Health and Social Care Act 2012 local Health and Wellbeing Boards are responsible for producing the JSNA. Health and Wellbeing Boards collaborate to understand their local community’s needs, agree priorities and encourage organisations involved in health and care to work in a more joined up way. Members of the Devon Health and Wellbeing Board include representatives from local authorities and the NHS in Devon, local councillors and other community representatives. The current membership list can be found here:

A development group oversees and guide the development of the JSNA, including representatives from the NHS, local authority and voluntary and community sector. There is also an analysts group which plans and coordinates information analysis for the JSNA, including representatives from the NHS, district and county councils, police, and other local services. These two groups help to ensure a broad range of different organisations and communities are involved in the JSNA in Devon.

Health and Wellbeing Boards are also responsible for the production of the Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy, which is a strategy to address the needs identified in the JSNA, and set the health and wellbeing priorities of the board accordingly. The Devon Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy is available here:

The board’s terms of reference are to:

  • Ensure the delivery of improved health and wellbeing outcomes for the population of Devon, with a specific focus on reducing inequalities
  • Promote the integration of health, social care and public health, through partnership working with between the NHS, Social Care Providers, District Councils and other public sector bodies
  • Promote an integrated health improvement approach to public health service provision
  • Provide a local governance structure for the local planning of and accountability for all health and wellbeing related services
  • Assess the needs and assets of the local population and lead the development of the statutory Devon Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) in partnership with Clinical Commissioning Groups
  • Similarly, produce and update a Devon Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy to provide a strategic framework to meet the needs identified in the JSNA
  • Promote joint and joined-up commissioning and pooled budget arrangements, where that makes sense as a means of promoting integration and partnership working across areas
  • Ensure all commissioning plans and policies reflect the health and wellbeing priorities identified through the joint needs assessment process.