Joint Strategic Needs Assessment

JSNA background

Health and well-being is a complex and multifaceted concept that is defined by many inter-relating factors. The development of strategies and services to improve the health and well-being of populations is similarly complicated and therefore robust, reliable and impartial evidence and intelligence is necessary to inform policy and strategic planning.

The Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) contains insight and intelligence on the current picture of the needs and utilisation of services by the local population and highlights where there might be unmet need. This allows for the development of general or targeted interventions, ensuring the efficient use of public funds and resources to improve health, care and wellbeing and reduce inequity in access and outcomes. Among the key strategies that the JSNA currently informs are Central Bedfordshire’s Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy (JHWS) and the Council’s strategic and local plans.

Understanding the JSNA

The aim of the Central Bedfordshire JSNA is to provide a shared, trusted, and impartial evidence base across the Council, irrespective of organisational or departmental boundaries, to ensure a co-ordinated approach to service design and provision, with the aim of improving outcomes of Central Bedfordshire’s residents. The JSNA will present a comprehensive picture of the region through a range of data and intelligence on demographics, behaviours and the many other factors that influence health, wellbeing.

The JSNA is a live entity not a static document. It is like a library where “books” or blocks of information are added as they are developed, each adding to the overall knowledge base. Therefore the information included at launch will be added to over time. Within each of the sections, there is a plan listing what is available at launch and what will be added in the next year. For information from previous JSNAs, please contact us.

Navigating the JSNA

Central Bedfordshire takes a life course approach to JSNAs recognising that a person’s mental and physical health are influenced in different ways throughout their life cycle by personal factors, wider social, economic and environmental determinants and behaviour risk factors. The Central Bedfordshire JSNA is therefore structured into the following sections:

Population and place

Detailed analysis
Understand what is changing in the demographic make up of Central Bedfordshire and the places that define the environment.

Data dashboard covering: Demographics, Ethnicity, Life Expectancy, Healthy Life Expectancy, and Population Density.

Children and Young People

Detailed analysis
Understand the health factors, risks and service usage associated with pregnancy, birth and early years’ development, school-age years, and plus age-specific vulnerabilities. Gain insight into current policy priorities and future plans.

Data dashboard covering: Birth weight, Premature births, Teenage pregnancy, Smoking at time of delivery, Low birth weight, Infant mortality, Breast feeding, Development benchmarks, Immunisation rates, Obesity levels, Mental health prevalence, and Hospital admissions by cause.

Living and Working Well

Detailed analysis
Understand the health and well-being factors, risks and service usage relating to work, living standards, lifestyle, long-term medical conditions and disabilities. Gain insight into current policy priorities and future plans.

Data dashboard covering: Demographics; the prevalence of: drug and alcohol use, smoking, STIs and HIV and mental health issues, including suicide rates and excess mortality; weight and physical activity; workplace health indicators; and long term conditions including: prevalence, hospital admissions, mortality, and cancer screening.

Aging Well

Detailed analysis
Understand the health and well-being needs of older people based on: trends in population; risk behaviours; ageing-related issues, such as frailty and sensory impairment; and the wider and age-specific determinants of their health. Gain insight into service utility, current policy priorities and future plans.

Data dashboard covering: Deprivation; Disability-free life expectancy; Covid-19, Flu and Shingles vaccinations; Mortality rate by cause; Preventable deaths; Hip fractures, A&E admissions due to falls, Frailty indicators; and the Prevalence of: sight impairment, mental health disorders, dementia and social isolation.

Specific Vulnerabilities

Detailed analysis
Understand the health and well-being needs of groups that face specific additional challenges to their health and well-being, starting with the homeless and people with special educational needs and learning difficulties.

Managing and improving the JSNA

The Central Bedfordshire JSNA is designed to be a live resource with data and content maintained and updated in a timely fashion. The publication plan is shown below.

Data dashboardAnnually
In-depth analysisEvery three years
In-depth analysis exceptionsIn the year identified

Exceptional updates will reflect any important developments in challenges, outcomes or changes to policy. They can be triggered either through data analysis or by the teams working on the ground.

To maintain and improve the JSNA requires input from everyone involved. If you any suggestions or requests, the JSNA team want to hear from you.


There is a statutory duty for the local authority to work with partners in the NHS and other partner organisations to regularly maintain and refresh a JSNA. The Central Bedfordshire JSNA is overseen by a Steering Committee that represents the needs of those who provide services including Central Bedfordshire’s Public Health, Children’s and Social Care teams and the Integrated Care Board, as well as representative of Healthwatch Central Bedfordshire. The physical production and maintenance of the JSNA is overseen by the Public Health Evidence and Intelligence team.