The Responsibility Deal shows how partnership and challenge can be the most effective way of tackling some public health objectives, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley announced today as he unveiled signatories to the first phase of the deal. Working in partnership with members of the voluntary sector, business, industry and the retail sector, the Deal can deliver faster and better results than a regulatory route, which is not always available.
Since September, five groups working on food, alcohol, behavioural change, physical activity and health at work have developed a series of pledges for action.
Key collective pledges agreed include:
Calories on menus from September this year;
Reducing salt in food so people eat 1g less per day by the end of 2012;
Removal of artificial trans-fats by the end of this year;
Achieving clear unit labelling on more than 80 per cent of alcohol by 2013;
Increasing physical activity through the workplace; and
Improving workplace health.
Supermarkets including ASDA, the Co-operative, Morrisons, Marks & Spencer, Sainbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose are among more than 170 organisations which have signed up to a broad range of measures designed to help the public to be more healthy.
Fast food outlets including McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and KFC have pledged to remove trans-fats and to put in place calorie labelling.
Drink producers and retailers, including Diageo, Carlsberg, Majestic Wine and Constellation, the producer of well-know brands including Hardys, Echo Falls and Stowells, have pledged to provide clear unit labelling, support awareness campaigns and develop a new sponsorship code on responsible drinking.
Key individual pledges include:
The Association of Convenience Stores has committed to work with its members to roll out Change4Life branding into 1,000 stores to improve fruit and vegetable availability in deprived areas. An evaluation of a pilot of this scheme showed it to be successful;
Streetgames, a national charity that develops sport with disadvantaged communities and makes sport accessible to young people regardless of their social circumstances, has pledged to help 50,000 young people living in deprived areas make doorstep sport a regular part of their lives in 2011 by attending at least one session per month; and
Three large employers – Mars UK, Novo Nordisk and Unilever – have pledged to work with small and medium enterprises in their local areas and share their resources and expertise in managing workplace health to help them to promote health and wellbeing amongst their staff.
Andrew Lansley said:
“Public health is everyone’s responsibility and there is a role for all of us, working in partnership, to tackle these challenges.
“We know that regulation is costly, can take years and is often only determined at an EU-wide level anyway. That’s why we have to introduce new ways of achieving better results.
“The deals published today, demonstrate the effectiveness of our radical partnership approach to deliver more and sooner.
“And it is only the first step. While I’m pleased with the progress we have achieved in seven months and that over 170 organisations have already signed up as partners, we want more organisations to sign up, and also to work with us to develop further collective and individual pledges.
“These deals will work alongside the Department’s broader plans to take a bold new approach to public health. Public Health England will give local people the money and the power to improve our nation’s health. The money will be ringfenced to be used as it should be — for preventing ill health.”
Food and Drink Federation Director General Melanie Leech said:
“The Food and Drink Federation is pleased to be a founding signatory of the Public Health Responsibility Deal. We bring our track record of achievement in key areas such as the reformulation of products, the provision of clear consumer information and our drive to support our own workforce to make healthier choices.
“We look forward to working with the Secretary of State in partnership under the Deal to build on this to deliver a significant contribution to improving public health, believing – as the OECD made clear last year – that ‘co-operation between government and industry is the single most critical link in a multi stakeholder approach’.