The health promotion modules have been designed to support you, our fast-track councils, in your planning and implementation of the Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plans. The modules are toolkits – they provide you with practical guidance, how-to-guides for action and links to additional resources, templates, and case studies. 

The modules are designed to provide options so you can choose the recommended activities that suit your council, community size and starting point – ensuring that you can make an impact within your community.  

These modules encourage councils to prioritise the health, wellbeing and safety of children and young people and to prioritise healthy changes through the spaces, services and strategies within councils’ remit. 

 

What you'll find on this page: 

  1. Overview of the health promotion modules
  2. Understanding a module
  3. Foundation modules
  4. Core modules
  5. Stretch modules
  6. Module supplements
  7. Monitoring and evaluation
  8. Implementation support
  9. Gaining support from council leaders
  10. Preparing for council policy and strategy
  11. Communications - including values-based messaging  -
  12. Get in touch

Overview of the health promotion modules

 

The health promotion modules are toolkits that consolidate best-practice methodology, evidence and case studies to inform the planning and implementation of enhanced, equitable health policy, and practice changes tailored for you.  

Hand holding cubeFoundation
modules
Three cubesCore
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Space rocketStretch
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  • Leading the way – engaging young voices for change
  • Connecting the dots – creating solutions for lasting change
  • Building active communities
  • Creating connected and supportive communities
  • Building better food systems for healthier communities
  • Strengthening tobacco control at a local level
  • Increasing alcohol harm prevention at a local level
  • Promoting everyday creativity at a local level
  • Foundation modules 
    provide the basic building blocks to develop staff capabilities and skills in systems-based thinking and in children and young people·led engagement and planning.

    Foundation modules focus on supporting engagement of children and young people's voices in council planning and enabling their continued involvement in the implementation of action.
  • Core modules
    provide the best practice policy and implementation guidance for councils in 3 priority areas to improve the health and wellbeing of children and young people.
  • Stretch modules
    are suited to councils ready to expand into broader health and wellbeing topics and create holistic and engaging community environments.
     

Module contents

Each module consists of: 

  • Impact streams – These represent areas where you are ideally placed to make changes that will have an impact on the health of your local community.  
  • Minimum deliverables – These outline what you need to do to show you have completed the module. All councils will work toward the same minimum deliverables, regardless of which implementation action they choose.
  • Implementation actions – These are designed to offer options – ‘the quick win, the step up and the ambitious one’ to suit the different needs of fast-track councils. 
  • How-to guides – These outline the recommended process, but may also include considerations for adapting, expanding or embedding these actions to suit your local community. 

 

Implementation action categories 

  • The quick win – These actions can generally be achieved in a shorter time frame (around 12 months) and require fewer resources. Quick wins are ideal for councils undertaking work in this topic for the first time and looking for high-impact activities that contribute to raising the profile of this work among the community and local stakeholders. 
  • The step up – These actions generally require more time, resourcing and strategic planning compared to the quick win. Step up activities suit councils looking to consolidate existing local interest or previous activities undertaken to address a health topic. 
  • The ambitious one – These actions are generally more ambitious long-term projects that can be delivered over a year or number of years. They need significant resourcing, and collaboration with key internal and external stakeholders. Ambitious actions benefit councils ready to make a big impact on a health topic and fully embed this work in strategic planning processes.  

Understanding a module 

To complete a module, you need to complete all minimum deliverables under each impact stream through the Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan or related plans and strategies of council. 
 

This example below outlines the steps you need to follow to complete a module. 

Impact Stream: Including walking and bike riding in council strategies 

Identify the most suitable implementation action based on council priorities and capacity Right arrow Work through the how-to guide of the identified implementation action to achieve the minimum deliverables for that impact stream Right arrow

Complete minimum deliverables under each impact stream

  • Quick win:
    Promote walking and bike riding in your community
  • Step up:
    Assess neighbourhood walking and bike riding infrastructure needs
  • Step up:
    Create a council walking and bike riding priority investment plan
  • Ambitious:
    Deliver neighbourhood walking and bike riding infrastructure projects
  • Impact stream:
    Including walking and bike riding in council strategies
  • Quick win:
    Promote walking and bike riding in your community
  • How-to guide to:
    Promote walking and bike riding in your community

Minimum deliverables

To complete the impact stream ‘Including walking and bike riding to council strategies”, councils will have:
  • Identified walking and bike riding priority locations or routes, projects, activations or infrastructure changes and targets to address these priorities
  • Demonstrated support from council and local leadership to work toward the coals of the impact stream by allocating resources and/or endorsing strategies or policies
  • Documented implemented changes that increased opportunities for walking and bike riding around the community
  • Demonstrated succession planning outlining how the activity will contribute to the outcomes of their current and future Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plans.

For more details on completing modules, check out the understanding a module.

 

The modules contain how-to guides for every recommended implementation action. The how-to guide outlines and describes the recommended steps to complete the action process. Some how-to guides are broken down into different phases to help councils plan how they will implement the action: plan, assess, design, deliver, review and embed.  

The how-to guides provide recommendations for involving certain groups of people throughout the action process. These groups may include: 

  • children and young people 
  • people who will make change happen, including council and project team members and members of the community 
  • people affected by the policy or strategy  
  • decision makers in the community, such as council leaders and councilors. 
  • The action process phases are shown below. 

Infographic, shows a circular shape with arrows pointing clockwise to show the progress from planning, to a constant rotation of asses, design, deliver, review and embed.

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Foundation modules

Foundation modules provide the basic building blocks to develop staff capabilities and skills in systems-based thinking and in children and young people-led engagement and planning.

Core modules

Core modules provide the best practice policy and implementation guidance for councils in 3 priority areas to improve the health and wellbeing of children and young people. 

Stretch modules

Stretch modules are suited to councils ready to expand into broader health and wellbeing topics and create holistic and engaging community environments.  

 

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Module Supplements

The VicHealth Local Government Partnership focuses on providing evidence-informed policy and practice change for councils to create healthy, active and connected communities for people who are 0-25 years of age. 

VicHealth works hard with expert partners to develop these modules to provide a foundation of support for fast-track councils as they commence annual action planning for Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plans 2021-25. 

We recognise that there are some areas that need more time to explore and gather evidence to ensure modules provide the best advice for councils. 

VicHealth will continue working with expert partners and councils to prepare other module supplements that can provide new implementation actions focused on certain cohorts. 

The two supplements in development are: 

  • An Early Childhood supplement (0-5 year olds)
  • An Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander supplement. 

Fast-track councils are also welcome to talk to VicHealth about other policy areas to consider for future modules.

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Monitoring and evaluation

By evaluating the actions implemented through the health promotion modules,councils can examine the value and impact of their work, provide feedback on its quality and reach and create insights to drive improvement and inform future actions.

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More information to support module implementation

Using the health promotion modules View more

How do I choose which implementation actions are right for our council? 

You should review the range of recommended implementation actions and identify one action per impact stream to complete within the life of the four-year Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan. The identified implementation actions should be incorporated into the Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan annual action plans, or other relevant council action plans.

 

How do I complete the implementation actions?

Ambitious actions might require more preparation, requiring councils to map out how they will work through the steps of the how-to guide and could be spread through successive annual action plans. Quick win or step up actions might be scheduled strategically so that opportunities to capitalise on momentum or interest gained in the topic are considered.  

In some actions, the ambitious one requires or would be strengthened if components of a quick win or step up actions were already in place.  Recommended implementation actions are informed by evidence about the types of action that can improve community health and wellbeing when delivered at the local government level.  

 

What are some examples of implementation types?

Implementation action types may be:  

  • Audit or self-assessment of existing activity  
  • Delivery of campaigns, events, promotions or communication exercises  
  • Delivery of programs and projects 
  • Development of policy or strategy 
  • Changes to or within the physical or built environment
  • How do I involve people throughout the action process?

 

How do I involve people throughout the action process? 

In the how-to guides, suggestions are made to involve people, including:

  • Children, young people and their families, to amplify the needs and priorities and co-design solutions for their health and wellbeing
  • People in the community most affected by the action, which may include population groups who are more likely to experience inequities relating to the issue you are trying to address
  • People required to drive the action or change, including council staff or teams, partner organisations or broader community groups 
  • Decision makers such as council leadership or councillors (see below, Gaining support from council leaders?

 

What is the implementation action process?

Implementation actions that involve policy, strategy, program, campaign development or built environment change activities may detail each of the steps in the action process. Other implementation actions, such as council audits are focused on just one or two stages. For example, ‘undertaking an audit’ will provide more detail about the Assess phase of the action process.

 

What do the modules mean by children and young people?

Generally, within the modules:

  • Children refers to people aged 0-11 years old
  • Young people refers to people aged 12-25 years old

There are some instances where a specific age group is identified – this is usually because the implementation action is better suited to a particular age group e.g., pre-school, school-aged or young adults.  

You may need to adapt recommended steps and actions to suit the needs and priorities of different age groups of children and young people. Further recommended resources, program and campaigns are also provided to assist you with tailoring to specific age cohorts.

 

What do the modules mean by council owned, operated and managed facilities?

Generally, within the modules: 

  • ‘Council owned, operated, and managed facilities’ refers to the spaces and services that you provide to your communities.  
  • It is particularly important that councils provide healthy environments and options for children, young people and other people in the community who rely on and use public facilities. 
  • These modules encourage councils to prioritise healthy changes through the spaces, services and strategies within councils’ remit.  

 

 

Some facilities that may be owned by councils and attended by the public include: 

  • Libraries, arts, museums, theatres, galleries and cultural centres 
  • Sport and recreation facilities, including aquatic and fitness centres, ovals and sports grounds, sports stadiums, clubrooms and pavilions 
  • Outdoor recreation venues including playgrounds and play spaces, parks, gardens and reserves, bushland, waterways and beaches, skate and bike parks, outdoor fitness, town squares and amphitheatres 
  • Community centres, neighbourhood houses, co-working facilities, meeting rooms and town and public halls 
  • Early years education and/or health facilities, including kindergartens, long day care and maternal and child health facilities 
  • Dedicated youth facilities 
  • General and purpose-built education facilities including adult learning and play based learning venues 
  • Residential and care facilities 
  • Civic centres, municipal offices and chambers 

In some cases a number of different facilities are located together within the one venue.  

These facilities may also be operated by council employees or leased back to community groups and organisations. Contractual arrangements between councils and community or business partners regarding operation of these facilities can add complexity for councils working to provide healthy environments in their facilities.

 

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Implementation support View more

Communities of Practice  

As a fast-track council, you have exclusive access to the Communities of Practice – providing opportunities to share, learn and support each other through implementation.  

To find out more and keep up-to-date – join the VLGP Teams Channel.

 

Implementation Funding 

Fast-track councils will have access to funding for implementation of the modules – more information will be provided when available.  

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Gaining support from council leaders View more

Council leader and council or support is a critical factor to the successful implementation of action to address health and wellbeing. While formal processes to test and obtain this support vary across councils, it’s recommended that consideration is given to staging leader and councillor involvement for each activity.  

Some considerations that can help identify strategic activities and points to engage and seek leader and councillor support include:  

  • Inclusion in the Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan or other strategic document – Council endorsement of strategic documents creates an authorising environment to prioritise and progress actions. Highlight where actions can contribute toward multiple goals for council. If the action isn’t explicitly stated in an endorsed strategic plan or document, be prepared to describe how and why the chosen action is the best way to achieve council’s goals and strategies.  
  • Bring leaders on the journey – In some instances, determining the best course of action is embedded in the action itself. Where possible, present leaders with your findings from the Assess stages and engage them in the Design stages of the activities. Ensure their contributions are incorporated into the design.  
  • Connect leaders to children, young people and community voice – Council’s ultimate responsibility is to deliver with and for the community. Ensure your processes include platforms to amplify the voices of children, young people and others in the community who are best-placed to describe their own need and priorities. Use council's community engagement strategy as a guide.
  • Permission to innovate - In some cases, the work or priority is new to council. Consider opportunities to seek an authorising environment to innovate and test new approaches, outlining the potential benefits, any anticipated risk and mitigation strategies and opportunities to learn from the work.  
  • Demonstrate the wins – Highlight the community benefits and effectiveness of successful actions. Use quick wins or steps ups to demonstrate an appetite for further council investment in the priority area, and continue pointing to the returns on investment that embedding the action in council strategic plans may have.  

 

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Preparing for council policy and strategy View more

Councils manage a series of policies, strategies, action plans and agreements including details that will impact the successful delivery of the health promotion modules.

The module resources have been developed using the following interpretation of each document type:

  • Policy - a ‘policy’ is a document that states the council’s position on a specific topic and sets out rules for council departments to adopt when undertaking their work for the community. A policy generally applies from the date it is ratified by council and may include a review schedule. 
  • Strategy - a ‘strategy’ is a document that outlines the process council will undertake to make specific improvements across a particular topic. A strategy generally covers a set period, for example 4 years. A strategy could have an action plan that is incorporated in the document or actions, that are subsidiary plans and strategies of the organisation. 
  • Action Plan - an ‘action plan’ is a supplementary document of a policy, plan or strategy that sets out the specific tasks, usually on an annual basis. Activities in the modules can be translated into action plans. Depending on council capacity, activities may be broken down with some elements of the action process competed over successive action plans. 

 

Considering a standalone or integrated approach for strategies and policies 

Some implementation actions in the modules recommend adopting council policies or strategies and require councils to consider standalone and integrated approaches. Usually, this means a decision about whether a health-related priority is the lead topic (for example having a municipal walking strategy that addresses a range of settings), or whether health priorities are addressed within related documents (for example, a council policy to address walking across council’s transport, youth and precinct strategic plans). 

There are a wide range of contextual factors that to consider to get the most out of the work in your community. 

When reviewing between a standalone or integrated approach, consider whether either arrangement is: 

  • More likely to the overall goal council is hoping to achieve 
  • Likely to generate useful opportunities for engaging key partners, council teams and leaders in the development journey of the strategy or policy 
  • Likely to be given more importance or budgeting opportunities through council’s strategic planning hierarchy 
  • Better suited to current council and community sentiment, support or opposition relating to the topic 
  • More appropriate to ensure accountability by the areas the change should be applied to 
  • Useful for reducing complexity or conflicts in council’s planning arrangements 

 

Identifying policy windows 

Affecting change across multiple documents requires some additional thought and planning toward bringing responsible departments on-board with the health priorities council is trying to address:

  • Audit relevant policy review windows in preparation to seize opportunities through the policy cycle. Complete this as part of the Assess step or as an independent activity to identify opportunities across a range of priorities in the Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan. 
  • Prepare a timeline of policy, strategy, plan or agreement review windows, and identify the changes required to align them with the goals of the Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan. 
  • Identify the responsible teams and review process for each, and proactively prepare the contributions or actions to foster alignments between the plan. Note any potential areas of competing or conflicting priorities, and prepare a rationale for why and how council could resolve these.  

 

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Communications - Including values-based messaging View more

Communication approaches  

VicHealth supports the health promotion sector to build communication skills, techniques and approaches to highlight health promotion work to different audiences.

 

Values-based messaging and framing  

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Values-based messaging is an approach that involves engaging people’s deeply-held values to motivate concern and action.  

Adopting values-based framing through council communications can shift the frame that health promotion efforts are viewed by the community and council leaders and increase demand for councils to take action to improve health and wellbeing.  

VicHealth has worked with Common Cause Australia to analyse the most effective values-based messaging frames for building strong public support across a number of health promotion topics, including; alcohol policy, healthy eating, childhood obesity, walking and bike riding and gender equity.

Health promotion practitioners can register to receive our ‘Healthy Persuasion’ messaging guide for recommendations on communicating about alcohol policy change, childhood obesity and healthy eating, as well as updates on VicHealth’s values-based messaging work. The following additional guides are also publicly available on VicHealth’s website:  

 

Encountering Resistance  

Some health promotion topics can attract debate from council staff or community members who do not agree with the priority, the approach or council’s involvement.  

Being prepared for potential resistance can assist councils pushing for social change. The (En)countering resistance: strategies to respond to resistance to gender equality initiatives guide sets out the forms that resistance can take and provides some practical examples of response strategies.  

 

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Get in touch View more

Can’t find what you need? Get in touch with the team: [email protected] 

To find out more and keep up-to-date – join the VLGP Teams Channel. 

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