National health expert Professor Kevin Fenton announced as Southwark Council’s new Director of Health and Wellbeing

2 February 2017

Southwark Council and Public Health England (PHE) have today announced that Professor Kevin Fenton, PHE’s Director of Health and Wellbeing, will be seconded to the council for three years as Director of Health and Wellbeing (incorporating the Director Of Public Health statutory role).

The move gives Southwark and PHE a unique opportunity to bring together national and local health agendas, and will allow Southwark to inject fresh and expert views into programmes to improve the lives of local people. It will also give Professor Fenton the opportunity to see first hand how national policies work on the ground, identify opportunities to do things better, and work with the council to overcome some of the barriers to delivering public health locally.

In his current role as Director of Health and Wellbeing, Professor Fenton is responsible for a number of national projects that fall within local government’s remit, including the prevention of smoking, obesity and HIV. He has over 20 years’ experience in public health medicine, infectious disease epidemiology, HIV prevention and sexual health. He is also the Visiting Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London with research interests in HIV/STI prevention, sexual behaviour, health inequalities, and migration and health.

When he joins Southwark in April, Professor Fenton will sit on the council’s Chief Officer Team, demonstrating the importance of public health to the council. He will work closely with Deborah Collins, Strategic Director of Environment and Social Regeneration, to help ensure the council’s regeneration and homebuilding promote and encourage good health and wellbeing.

Cllr Peter John, Leader of Southwark Council, said: “We are delighted to welcome Professor Fenton to Southwark, and cannot wait to work with him to improve the lives of local people. When we took responsibility for public health in 2013, Southwark promised to promote good health across all our services, using all our resources from our parks and leisure centres to our marketing and events to help local people live healthier lives. We have introduced free swim and gym and free healthy school meals for all primary school pupils. Now we are going a step further by ensuring we have one of the country’s leading health experts helping to set our direction, and make sure everything we do promotes good health. This is a win-win arrangement for Southwark Council and for Public Health England, as both organisations will learn from each other and work together to move the public health agenda forward.”

Professor Kevin Fenton said: “I am excited by this opportunity to help shape health in one of London’s most dynamic boroughs. The key wellbeing and care services Local Government provides and the leadership role it plays are pivotal to improving people’s health and building strong, connected and resilient communities. Southwark Council is an innovator, and I am very much looking forward to helping put good health at the centre of all that it does and delivering for the health and wellbeing of its residents.”

Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive of Public Health England, said: “I am very pleased to support Kevin in this unique opportunity to work with Southwark and to help them to build health and wellbeing into all that the council does. Local leadership sits at the centre of the public health system, and this exciting partnership will help demonstrate what we can achieve when local and national leadership work together. Kevin has made a huge contribution to public health over the last four years. Under his leadership we have seen the development of evidence in a number of key areas such as e-cigarettes and sugar reduction which has influenced U.K. policy making and internationally. Kevin will continue during his secondment to offer his great expertise not only to Southwark but also nationally. I very much look forward to seeing the success of this novel partnership.”

Page last updated: 02 February 2017