A Fair Assessment: A report into local authorities' assessments

The results of our ground breaking report shows that many local authorities in England are failing to adequately assess the needs of people living with a musculoskeletal condition.

Read our A Fair Assessment report (PDF, 1.2 MB).

The report analyses the two documents that 152 local authorities have a statutory duty to publish:

  1. An assessment of the health needs of their local population (Joint Strategic Need Assessments, or JSNA)
  2. A strategy for meeting those needs (Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategies, or JHWS).

You can find out how many people in your local area have osteoarthritis using our Musculoskeletal Calculator, and find out the results of our research for your own local authority using our A Fair Assessment report appendix (PDF, 645 KB).

Our research looked at both the extent of inclusion of musculoskeletal conditions, and the context of each mention.

Concerning findings

The report has some concerning findings, including:

  • 1 in 4 local authorities haven’t included the needs of people with arthritis, musculoskeletal conditions or osteoarthritis in their JSNA
  • 64% of local authorities fail to include osteoarthritis in their JSNA, even though at least
  • 15% of over 45s in every area have osteoarthritis
  • 62% of local authorities fail to include back pain in their assessment
  • only one local authority includes osteoarthritis in their strategy to meet local health needs.

Next steps

We’re now asking local authorities that have failed to include osteoarthritis in their reports to investigate how the condition has been missed.

We’re also calling for all local authorities to include osteoarthritis and back pain in their JSNA in the future, and for a review of the JSNA and JHWS process to determine whether it’s working in relation to long-term conditions.