The value of public health – Behaviour Change campaigns (Simple Things)

The Champs Public Health Collaborative is a formal partnership of public health teams in Cheshire and Merseyside, which is made up of nine local authorities. It was established in 2003 and is led jointly by the subregion’s Directors of Public Health (DsPH).

The DsPH make up an Executive Board and act as a public health system, working closely with key partners including NHS Cheshire and Merseyside, the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, the UK Health Security Agency and NHS England and NHS Improvement. This work is facilitated by the Champs Support Team, a small team hosted by Wirral Council.

By working together on priority areas, the Collaborative pools resources, shares expertise, communicates with one voice, and enables a consistent approach across a large geography. Below is an example of the day-to-day activities that DsPH support and the impact this makes on local communities.

Behaviour Change campaigns (Simple Things)

The issue

In 2022, Directors of Public Health were concerned about the impact that an increased rate in the spread of infectious diseases (including COVID-19 and flu) may have on the health and wellbeing of the population, as well as already-stretched local NHS services.

The solution

The Collaborative commissioned a new campaign – Simple Things – to remind residents, schools and businesses of the simple everyday mitigations they can carry out to reduce the spread of infectious diseases. The four simple things are washing hands, sanitising surfaces, covering mouth when coughing or sneezing, and staying away from others if feeling unwell.
The campaign was completely insight-led, with significant market research and audience testing being carried out before the campaign was developed, as well as during the campaign’s implementation, to ensure the creative execution, campaign messages and chosen channels were appropriate for the target audiences.
The campaign was activated through a variety of channels, including radio, social media and digital advertising, as well as a PR campaign that landed international coverage in outlets like the New York Post, the Daily Mail and was also covered on ITV’s This Morning.

The results

The campaign is running until the end of March 2023, but the mid-campaign insight is very positive. The insight found that four out of five people who saw the adverts claimed that the adverts made them wash their hands more (84%) or sanitise surfaces more (84%). The insight has also found that the campaign was easy to understand (91% agreed), had an important message (83% agreed) and was attention grabbing (78% agreed).

Lessons learned

The success of this campaign was enabled by strong working relationships across Cheshire and Merseyside and an ethos of ‘do it once and do it well’. The campaign leant heavily on a pool of expert public health leads who supported the development of key messages and was created by a communications and marketing agency that operates in the subregion. By taking a centralised and local approach, both Cheshire and Merseyside’s health and care system and residents have massively benefitted.