About the ScotPHO collaboration

The Scottish Public Health Observatory (ScotPHO) collaboration is co-led by ISD Scotland and NHS Health Scotland, and includes the Glasgow Centre for Population Health, National Records of Scotland, Health Protection Scotland and the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit.

We aim to provide a clear picture of the health of the Scottish population and the factors that affect it. We contribute to improved collection and use of routine data on health, risk factors, behaviours and wider health determinants. We take a lead in determining Scotland's future public health information needs, develop innovations in public health information and provide a focus for new routine public health information development where gaps exist.

We achieve this through our website, by publishing a variety of one-off reports and by contributing to and leading national public health data projects. Through our work we help those involved in public health and health improvement in Scotland access and use the information they need to understand and improve Scotland's health and reduce health inequalities.

We work closely with the Scottish Government's Health Analytical Services Division, Government colleagues who run ScotStat and others involved in public health intelligence in Scotland and beyond. We link to users of local and national health information through the Public Health Information Network for Scotland (PHINS). We also link with the Scottish Public Health Network (ScotPHN) to promote best use of public health information.

You can download a ScotPHO leaflet (78Kb) that summarises who we are, what we do, and how we work.

ScotPHO steering group

The work of ScotPHO is coordinated by a steering group which is chaired by Dr Andrew Fraser (NHS Health Scotland) and includes representatives of the partner agencies involved, including ISD, NHS Health Scotland, National Records of Scotland, the Glasgow Centre for Population Health and the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit. The group also includes representatives from the Scottish Directors of Public Health, Scottish public health academics, COSLA and the Scottish Government. The steering group meets three to four times annually.

ScotPHO collaboration partners

ISD Scotland, part of NHS National Services Scotland, provides health information, health intelligence, statistical services and advice that support the NHS in Scotland in progressing quality improvement in health and care and facilitating robust planning and decision making.

NHS Health Scotland is the national agency for improving population health. It is a Special Health Board and its work covers every aspect of health improvement, from gathering evidence, to planning, delivery and evaluation, and spans the range of health topics, settings and life stages.

The Glasgow Centre for Population Health (GCPH) is a resource to generate insights and evidence, create new solutions and provide leadership for action to improve health and tackle inequality. The GCPH works across the boundaries of research, policy, implementation and community life to shape a healthier future for Scotland. It focuses on bringing people with different perspectives together to commit to fresh thinking and approaches to improve Glasgow's health.

National Records of Scotland was formed on 1st April 2011 as a merger of the General Register Office for Scotland and the National Archives of Scotland. It is responsible for: preserving, protecting and promoting Scotland's national archives; the registration of births, marriages, civil partnerships, deaths, divorces and adoptions; running the census; publishing information about Scotland's population and households; and, connecting everyone with Scots ancestry to information about their past.

Health Protection Scotland, part of NHS National Services Scotland, is the national surveillance and co-ordinating centre for responding to communicable diseases and health problems associated with environmental hazards. It provides advice, support and information to health professionals, national and local government, the general public and a number of other bodies that play a part in protecting health.

The MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit aims to promote human health by the study of social, behavioural, economic and environmental influences on health. We have five objectives:

  • to study the multiple interacting processes through which biological, social, behavioural, economic and environmental factors influence physical and mental health over the lifecourse;
  • to discover mechanisms which can modify these processes and have the potential to improve population health in a complex world;
  • to develop translational interventions which harness these mechanisms to improve public health and reduce social inequalities in health;
  • to evaluate interventions and policies in terms of their ability to improve public health and reduce social inequalities in health;
  • to influence policy and practice by communicating the results and implications of research to policy, professional and lay audiences.