Men Have Needs Too!

The Men’s Network has recently reviewed the city’s draft Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) for 2011 a vitally important document that is intended to identify “the big picture” in terms of the health and wellbeing needs and inequalities of everyone in Brighton & Hove – Men and Boys included.

In simple terms it tells the city’s bosses what the main health issues are in the city so they know where to focus their attention and their resources.

This post outlines why we think that the JSNA in its current format fails Men and Boys in Brighton & Hove and what action we propose can be taken to address this failure.

The two key reasons that we believe the draft JSNA for 2011 fails Men and Boys in Brighton & Hove is that:

  1. It fails to identify the distinct needs of Men and Boys
  2. It fails to recognize that gender is a social determinant of health outcomes

Both of these key actions are recommended by The Men’s Health Forum, which has been a lead adviser to the Department of Health through its Third Sector Strategic Partner Programme since 2009.

The Men’s Network in Brighton & Hove asserts that these two key omissions can only contribute to one of the city’s starkest health inequalities which is the fact that:

While a poor boy in our city will die on average THIRTEEN YEARS earlier than a rich girl, women’s projects in the city receive nearly THIRTEEN HUNDRED times more funding than men’s projects.

As the Brighton & Hove NHS Manager for Equality and Diversity, Phil Seddon, recently said:

“Ironically a largely male led society has created structures that don’t meet men’s needs because it hasn’t found itself able to acknowledge what those needs might be”.

The JSNA is a continuation of this failure to acknowledge what men’s needs might be and ignores good practice guidance from The Men’s Health Forum to ensure that all data is disaggregated by gender and that the JSNA takes firm account of gender as a social determinant of health outcomes.

The JSNA is also at odds with the Government’s new Equalities Strategies which sets out 5 new rules for change which are:

  • Equal opportunities for all
  • Giving power to people
  • Being open and clear
  • Getting people involved
  • Lasting equality

A JSNA that fails to include separate specific data on Men and Boys as distinct from Women and Girls does not ensure that it is giving Equal Opportunities For All and is not Being Open And Clear. Failing to provide the public with this information through the JSNA is not Giving Power to People and does not help Getting People Involved. Nor is it building Lasting Equality for everyone – Men and Boys included.

The Men’s Network supports the commitment made by the city’s strategic partners in its Sustainable Communities Strategy for Brighton & Hove to improve the quality of life of everyone who lives here – Men and Boys included –  by tackling inequality and disadvantage and giving everyone the opportunity to help make our city a success.

We also welcome the proposed direction of the new Brighton & Hove Health Inequalities strategy, highlighted in the JSNA, to give greater prominence to identifying partnership action to tackle the social determinants of health.

As the only city partner focused exclusively on male gender as a social determinant of inequality – and as the authors of the world’s first Citywide Strategy For Men And Boys to be published in April 2010 – The Men’s Network is happy to help the authors of the JSNA to ensure that the final draft both takes account of gender as a social determinant of health and includes disaggregated data throughout by offering our support to help you include Men and Boys in the JSNA.

This offer is made within the spirit of the Government’s new Localism Bill which will give the public sector at a local level a General Power of Competence to do anything which is not specifically prohibited by law and sets out six actions of decentralization as follows:

  • Lift the burden of bureaucracy
  • Empower communities to do things their way
  • Increase local control of public finance
  • Diversify the supply of public services
  • Open up Government to public scrutiny
  • Strengthen accountability to local people

Our offer of support is also in line with the new approach to public health outlined in the Public Health White Paper – Healthy Lives, Healthy People – that sets out “a radical new approach that will empower local communities”.

As the voice of Men and Boys in Brighton & Hove – a local community of identity representing nearly half of the population – we are happy to propose two solutions for the authors of the JSNA:

SOLUTION ONE: The authors of the JSNA take responsibility for following national recommendations by including gender as a social determinant of health within the Brighton & Hove’s JSNA for 2011 and being open and clear by providing gender-specific data that clearly highlights the specific needs of Men and Boys as distinct from Women and Girls in every section of the JSNA

SOLUTION TWO: If the authors of JSNA cannot for any reason take responsibility for including gender as a social determinant of health and providing gender-specific data that clearly highlights the specific needs of Men and Boys as distinct from Women and Girls in every section of the JSNA – we request that the authors of the JSNA hand this responsibility to The Men’s Network who will be happy to work with local partners to co-ordinate the collection of this disaggregated data for free.

We make this offer because we support the principle of the Localism Bill that seeks to “empower communities to do things their way”.

As a community of men we are no longer prepared to stand on the sidelines and tolerate the fact that poor boys in our city will die THIRTEEN YEARS earlier than rich girls while Women’s projects receive nearly THIRTEEN HUNDRED times more funding than Men’s projects.

The Men’s Network is committed to helping the city’s partners to fulfill on their promise to improve the quality of life of everyone who lives in Brighton & Hove – Men and Boys included – by tackling inequality and disadvantage and giving everyone the opportunity to help make our city a success.

We request that the authors of the JSNA give us the opportunity to help make our city a success by working with us between now and the publication of the 2011 JSNA to ensure that disaggregated gender data is made available in every section of the document.

This simple action is the foundation stone upon which everyone who cares passionately about Brighton & Hove being an equal city can work together in partnership to create a City That Works For Everyone – Men And Boys Included.

We look forward to the response of the authors of Brighton & Hove’s JSNA.

About

Glen Poole is UK co-ordinator for International Men's Day, Director at the consultancy Helping Men and news editor of insideMAN magazine. Follow him on twitter @HelpingMen or find out more about his work at www.helpingmen.co.uk.

Posted in Men Have Needs Too!, NEWS, News From The Men's Network
One comment on “Men Have Needs Too!
  1. […] The gap between women’s pay and men’s pay in Brighton & Hove is considerably smaller than the national average according to the city’s draft JSNA […]

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