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Author: Nick Spencer

This chapter examines the role of behavioural change in reducing health inequalities, focusing of cigarette smoking. It provides an overview of recent health policy initiatives aimed at smoking reduction and the theoretical debates on the effectiveness of policies that seek to reduce health inequalities through changing individual smoking behaviour. It explores the relationship between cigarette smoking and a range of social and material factors that appear to be key determinants of smoking behaviour and identifies the key challenges for future smoking cessation policy.

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From Acheson to ‘Choosing Health’

This book offers a unique multi-disciplinary perspective on tackling health inequalities in a rich country, examining the New Labour policy agenda for tackling health inequalities and its inherent challenges.

The book presents an overview of progress since the publication of the seminal and ambitious 1998 Acheson Inquiry into health inequalities, and the theoretical and methodological issues underpinning health inequalities. The contributors consider the determinants of inequality - for example, early childhood experience and ethnicity - the factors that mediate the relationship between determinants and health - nutrition, housing and health behaviour - and the sectoral policy interventions in user involvement, local area partnership working and social work.

Challenging health inequalities offers a combination of broad analysis of progress from differing perspectives and will be key reading to academics, students and policy makers.

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This chapter examines the progress of the New Labour government towards the goal of reducing pregnancy and early childhood health inequalities in England since 1997. It evaluates the impact of the numerous new Labour policy initiatives aimed at reducing disadvantage in early childhood and reducing the effects of adverse early life experience on health inequalities across the life course. It provides a brief summary of inequalities in pregnancy and early childhood health and outlines proposed policy changes.

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This chapter presents an account of the challenges of religious literacy for media, rooting their exploration in a case study of the UK’s BBC, where Wakelin was formerly head of Religion. This begins to open up a crucial area for religious literacy which is both hindered and helped by how it is mediated in journalism, news, drama and entertainment. The chapter touches on a broad and well-established field of research which indicates that things have not always gone well in the relationship between religion, religious literacy and the media.

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This introductory chapter explains the coverage of this book, which is about the influence of the policy agenda recommended by the Acheson Inquiry on the New Labour policy on reducing health inequalities. It discusses the significance of the Inquiry and its recommendations on how to reduce inequalities in health care in Great Britain. It describes the strategies adopted by the government that set out specifically to reduce health inequalities and examines the policies and programmes introduced during the New Labour’s first ten years in office.

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This concluding chapter sums up the key findings of this study on the impact of the Acheson Report on New Labour’s policy on reducing health inequalities in Great Britain. It draws together the main unifying themes and highlights further research, policy and practice challenges if health inequalities are to be significantly reduced. It also discusses the accomplishments of the New Labour government in the areas of child poverty, smoking cessation, user involvement and community development.

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Co-creation in policymaking is of increasing interest to national governments, and designers play a significant role in its introduction.

Aims and objectives:

We discuss instances from our fieldwork that demonstrated how UK Policy Lab used design methods to gain insight into the design-oriented methods introduced to policymakers’ practices, and how these may influence conventional policy design processes.


This paper reports on the learnings from a two-month participant observation at UK Policy Lab conducted in early 2019.


We found that, beyond human-centred and future-oriented practices, the designers working at this unit appropriate design as a reflective practice for the context of policymaking. We discuss how the use of visual and creative methods of design are utilised by policy designers to facilitate co-creative reflective practices, and how these make a valuable contribution to policymaking practices in UK Government.

Discussion and conclusions:

As deliberation and decision making is influenced both by what is thought about as well as who is doing the thinking, reflective practices allow notions and assumptions to be unpicked. Moreover, when done as a group activity, reflection leads to a co-production of a deepened understanding of policy challenges.

Consequently, we argue, the reflective practices introduced by Policy Lab are an essential contribution to developing a co-creation tradition in evidence-informed policymaking processes.

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