Public health knowledge and intelligence professional
Public health knowledge and intelligence professionals help to provide information that's essential both for identifying issues that have a negative effect on people’s health, and for planning to deal with those issues.
Public health knowledge and intelligence professionals are responsible for gathering, analysing and interpreting information. They can be broadly divided into:
- knowledge professionals (who maintain and manage evidence and knowledge resources in public health)
- intelligence professionals (who analyse, interpret and present data about public health)
Public health knowledge and intelligence professionals support all three 'domains' of public health (health protection, health improvement and healthcare public health). If you’re working within health protection you may be involved in work on infectious diseases requiring a rapid response (for example, providing information to inform the advice given to the public about pandemic flu or norovirus). If you’re working in health improvement or healthcare public health, you may be more involved in the longer-term work of interpreting data on chronic diseases (such as heart disease or lung cancer).
It’s worth knowing that actual job titles and roles within knowledge and intelligence are likely to vary greatly between different organisations and depending on their level of seniority. You will find some examples of the types of job roles in the working life section of this role page.
Want to find out more?
- Find out more about the working life of public health knowledge professionals
- Find out more about the working life of public health intelligence professionals
- Find out more about entry and registration for public health knowledge and intelligence professionals
- Find out more about the skills and interests needed for public health knowledge and intelligence professionals
- Find out more about training and development for public health knowledge and intelligence professionals
Pay and conditions of employment are likely to vary depending on the employer. For more information, visit our pay and benefits page.
Public health knowledge roles and example salaries:
Information officer: £21,439 - £26,775pa (Public Health England, 2014)
Senior information officer: £21,625 - £26,775pa pro rata (Public Health England, 2014)
Public health data manager: £23,188 - £28,525pa (Public Health England, 2014)
Public health intelligence roles and example salaries:
Public health analyst: £28,242 - £35,566pa (Public Health England, 2014)
Public health analyst: £29,528 - £32,072pa (West Sussex County Council, 2014)
Epidemiology and information analyst: £21,841 - £27,042pa (Public Health England, 2016)
Senior public health analyst: £30,480 - £35,093pa (Wigan Council, 2016)
Senior public health analyst (dental): £33,675 - £42,269pa (Public Health England, 2014)
Senior mathematical modeller: about £33,500-42,200pa (Public Health England, 2014)
Statistician: £37,454 - £45,769pa (Public Health England, 2014)
Public health principal - health intelligence: £46,512 - £49,365pa (Richmond Council, 2014)
Population health and wellbeing intelligence manager: £56,985 - £61,914pa (Lewisham Clinical Commissioning Group, 2014)
Senior health economics adviser: £57,541 - £71,535pa (Public Health England, 2016)
There may be a number of ways of achieving professional accreditation and training associated with knowledge and intelligence roles.
Public health knowledge
A typical career pathway might begin with an assistant librarian role, and then progress to librarian, head librarian or into a managerial role.
Public health intelligence
Someone joining as a graduate might begin as an analyst then progress to more senior positions, such as more senior analyst roles or head of intelligence within Public Health England, the NHS or a local authority.
In September 2014 it was estimated there are roughly 1,000 to 1,300 people working in public health knowledge and intelligence roles in England.
In 2014, Public Health England estimated that it employed between 280 and 430 ‘analytical’ staff.
In 2015, a report on the public health knowledge and intelligence workforce estimated that there are 792 knowledge and intelligence staff working in local authorities; of these, about 167 may be specialists or consultants.
Public health knowledge and intelligence teams in local authorities may be located within a public health team led by a director of public health, or located in a council’s intelligence unit, where all the council’s research and intelligence functions are combined. The size of teams and the nature of roles vary between different local authorities.
A report on the public health workforce in Scotland (2015) estimated that there were 370-660 people working in public health knowledge and intelligence roles in Scotland (depending on the definition of such roles). The main employers were the Scottish Public Health Observatory (26 staff); NHS National Services Scotland (at least 215 staff); and NHS Healthcare Improvement Scotland (30 staff).
Where to look for job vacancies:
- Local Government Jobs (UK)
- Welsh Local Government Jobs
- Scottish Local Government Jobs
- Local Government Jobs in Northern Ireland
Recruiting for values
If you're applying for a role either directly in the NHS or in an organisation that provides NHS services, you'll be asked to show how you think the values of the NHS Constitution apply in your everyday work. The same will be true if you are applying for a university course funded by the NHS.
If you’re applying for a job in a local authority, each has its own set of core values underpinning its recruitment exercises, which can usually be found in the recruitment section of its website.
Note that terms such as ‘practitioner’, ‘manager’, ‘specialist’ and ‘consultant’ may have different meanings in different job titles. Therefore, they do not necessarily reflect the role category that the job really belongs to. It is important to check the person specification of the role to fully understand the skills and knowledge required.
Public Health England intelligence networks
Public Health England has five intelligence networks, which provide useful examples of the types of work public health knowledge and intelligence professionals do. Click on the links below to find out more.
- National Cardiovascular Intelligence Network
- National Cancer Intelligence Network
- Mental Health Dementia and Neurology Intelligence Network
- National Child and Maternal Health Intelligence Network
- National End-of-Life Care Intelligence Network
Public health observatories
- Ireland and Northern Ireland’s Population Health Observatory
- The Scottish Public Health Observatory
- Public Health Wales Observatory
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