Intersectoral Partnerships Between Local Governments and Health Organisations in High-Income Contexts: A Scoping Review

Document Type : Review Article


1 Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia

2 School of Population Health, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia

3 School of Social Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia

4 Ingham Institute, Liverpool, NSW, Australia

5 Centre for Health Equity Training, Research and Evaluation, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia

6 South Western Sydney Local Health District, Ingham Institute, Liverpool, NSW, Australia

7 Liverpool Hospital, Liverpool, NSW, Australia

8 Healthy Places, Population Health, South Western Sydney Local Health District, Liverpool, NSW, Australia


Local governments are the closest level of government to the communities they serve. Traditionally providing roads, rates and garbage services, they are also responsible for policy and regulation, particularly land use planning and community facilities and services that have direct and indirect impacts on (equitable) health and wellbeing. Partnerships between health agencies and local government are therefore an attractive proposition to progress actions that positively impact community health and well-being. Yet, the factors underpinning these partnerships across different contexts are underdeveloped, as mechanisms to improve population health and well-being.
A scoping review was conducted to gain insight into the concepts, theories, sources, and knowledge gaps that shape partnerships between health and local governments. The search strategy followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews (PRISMA-ScR) guidelines and was informed by a critical realist approach that identifies necessary, contingent and contextual factors in the literature. MEDLINE, Scopus, Web of Science, and ProQuest Central databases were searched for studies published between January 2005 and July 2021.
The search yielded 3472 studies, after deleting duplicates and initial title and abstract screening, 188 papers underwent full text review. Twenty-nine papers were included in the review. Key themes shaping partnerships included funding and resources; partnership qualities; governance and policy; and evaluation and measures of success. The functional, organisational and individual aspects of these themes are explored and presented in a framework.
Given that local government are the closest level of government to community, this paper provides a sophisticated roadmap that can underpin partnerships between local government and health agencies aiming to influence population health outcomes. By identifying key themes across contexts, we provide a framework that may assist in designing and evaluating evidence-informed health and local government partnerships.


  • Receive Date: 25 November 2022
  • Revise Date: 03 December 2023
  • Accept Date: 31 January 2024
  • First Publish Date: 03 February 2024