The King's Fund has called for increased integration between urban regeneration initiatives and efforts to tackle mental ill health.

It identifies health action zones as a 'potential' vehicle to bring the two agendas together.

Urban Regeneration and Mental Health in London criticises the 'marginal position' of health 'and mental health in particular in urban regeneration policy'.

An analysis of several initiatives criticises attempts to tackle mental ill health as 'too narrow', focusing on the care and treatment of only the most severely mentally ill people.

The report says the continued absence of a strategy to promote mental health in London 'leaves its services swimming against an ever-increasing current'.

It identifies HAZs as 'a vehicle for pushing forward regeneration initiatives relating to health and potentially mental health'.

The report urges the zones to 'take seriously the mental health agenda' and include outcome measures which relate to mental health. It outlines a number of lessons from an analysis of previous regeneration partnerships. Risks that partnerships can become 'highly bureaucratised' and 'highly contractualised - particularly between central government and local partners' are identified.

But attempts to overcome this and speed up processes have meant that 'accountability has become opaque' in some schemes, the report warns.

'The community and voluntary sectors... tend to be junior partners and are often overwhelmed by the complications of partnership. They are at the top table but often the most vulnerable there.'

The report suggests that HAZs should learn from the drug action teams, described as 'a reasonably robust role model for HAZs to look at in terms of process'.

Director of the King's Fund community care programme Janice Robinson said the report aimed to 'stimulate wider debate on regeneration policies and their relevance to the lives of people with all forms of mental health problems'.

The coming year will see a series of seminars and briefings for those working in health, social services, local government and outside agencies.

Urban Regeneration and Mental Health in London. King's Fund bookshop, 0171-307 2591.£9.95.