Project updates

Systems guidance for local practitioners


A research workshop was held on October 3rd, 2017 in order to help inform the development of the guidance on system-level evaluations of public health interventions. The workshop was attended by practitioners and academics with a prior interest and knowledge of systems.

A second workshop took place on March 28th, 2018. In this workshop, initial findings from the project was presented to an audience of public health practitioners. The day included a series of presentations on the potential value of a systems approach, a consideration of when to use (or not use) a systems approach and the types of research questions you can using a systems lens. Participants then has the opportunity to work through an exercise to map the potential system effects of a local public health intervention.

A third workshop took place on June 4th, 2018 which took the form of a practitioner-led discussion about the content of the draft guidance and how it can be improved.


McGill E, Petticrew M (co-presenters). (2017). How evidence-informed decision making can take a systems perspective: the implications of systems thinking for public health evaluation. Department of Health Seminar Series. Policy Seminar. 17 October 2017.

McGill E (presenter), Egan M. (2017). How evidence informed decision-making can take a systems perspective: review and guidance for local practitioners. Complex Systems and NCD Prevention. Centre for Global Non-Communicable Diseases & ECOHOST The Centre for Health and Social Change. Oral Presentation. London, UK. 14 September 2017.

Petticrew M. (2017). Complex systems and complex interventions and evaluation. UCL Research Department of Epidemiology and Public Health External Speaker Seminar Series. Seminar. 29 November 2017.

Petticrew M. (2017). Methodological challenges in evaluating community interventions. British Association of Community Dentists, Annual Scientific Meeting. London. 16 October 2017.


What can a systems approach do for you?

Systems thinking is currently an important public health topic. It suggests we learn more about how to improve population health by looking at the bigger picture – that is, the wider system of people, organisations and processes that shape the things we do and the impacts they have. Elizabeth McGill introduces this topic as part of an SPHR project to provide Systems Guidance to people who work in local public health. It’s from a collaboration of researchers at LSHTM, Universities of Liverpool and Lancaster (LiLaC), Cambridge, Bristol and Sheffield.