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Health assets profile


Welcome to the Health assets profile. It has been produced to help local authorities undertake an asset based approach to health and wellbeing. Specifically the data presented in the tool can be used in local Joint Strategic Needs Assessments and provide a focus on assets.

Why a Health asset profile?

PHE has a wide range of data resources that provide information on health and related factors. These are used to stimulate and support discussions on identifying priorities for action and provide a ‘snapshot’ of health within a local authority. However, the majority of tools present data and indicators which are focused on identifying disease, mortality and risk factors rather than health, wellbeing and the factors that protect or create health and wellbeing in the population, i.e. deficit-based rather than asset-based. This tool aims to address this by identifying and producing a national dataset of indicators on health assets for each upper tier local authority in England.

About the Health assets profile

The Health Assets profile has been developed by PHE’s Local Knowledge and Intelligence Service to support local authorities in assessing the level of health assets or protective factors that influence health in their area.

Indicators were selected during a process of focus groups, stakeholder surveys and ultimately the availability and robustness of the data. We recognise there may be many other indicators that could be included and we will look to review the tool in the future.

This tool is an ongoing project and will continue to be developed over time. As such, some sections of the tool are currently more developed than others. We would be happy to hear from you to inform its development: you can email us at if you have any feedback.

What is an asset based approach?

An asset based approach understands health as a positive dimension and focuses on the factors and solutions that lead to good health. These often lie within the resources of people and communities and the connections between them.[1]

The asset approach complements the traditional deficit approach to health that focuses on needs and problems and the supply of professional-led services. Whilst important, a consequence of the deficit approach is an over-emphasis on illness rather than wellness, of seeing individuals as a burden, describing places as problem communities and delivering unsustainable service responses to ‘fix problem places and people’.[1],[2]

“A health asset can be defined as any factor (or resource), which enhances the ability of individuals, groups, communities, populations, social systems and/ or institutions to maintain and sustain health and wellbeing and to help reduce inequalities”[2]. Assets have been further described as strengths, skills, capacities, passions, interest, networks, and connections.[3]

An asset approach to public health is therefore based on valuing the factors that promote and protect health and enabling them to be strengthened. Approaches include how we describe, assess, evaluate and improve health through policy, practice and intelligence, for example, through joint strategic needs and assets assessments and asset based community development. This tool provides an asset approach to intelligence and complements other work across the organisation to support asset based approaches.

[1] Marmot M, 2010, Fair Society, Healthy Lives: Strategic review of health inequalities in England post 2010 London: The Marmot Review

[2] Morgan A and Zigio E, 2007, IUHPE – Promotion & Education supplement 2: Revitalising the evidence base for public health: an assets model,

[3] Foot J and Hopkins T, 2010. A glass half-full: how an asset approach can improve community health and wellbeing, London: Improvement and development agency.