The new “enhanced” joint strategic needs assessment does not represent “business as usual” for the NHS, guidelines have warned.

Formal responsibility for the assessments, first introduced in 2007, will pass to council health and wellbeing boards, according to the Health and Social Care Bill.

The bill sets out a more central role for needs assessments in driving local health improvements, including the expectation they will inform new statutory joint health and wellbeing strategies.

The Local Government Association’s improvement and development arm has this week published a toolkit to help health and wellbeing boards implement the new assessments.

The guidance document, Joint Strategic Needs Assessment: a springboard for action, was commissioned by the Department of Health and deals with seven quality themes.

It states:  “The new demands on joint strategic needs assessment means that a step change in its role and function will be necessary; this is not business as usual.”

It says: “For many areas, the reaffirmed duty… comes against the backdrop of efficiency savings, radical investment and disinvestment decisions, and changing leadership across health, social care and children’s commissioning.”