Healthy Lives, Healthy People:Consultation on the arrangements for consideration of proposals on the fluoridation of drinking water

Closed 27 Nov 2012

Opened 4 Sep 2012

Results Updated 20 Feb 2013

Local decision-making around fluoridation of drinking water: consultation response

20 February 2013

The summary of responses to the consultation on arrangements for future decision-making on the fluoridation of drinking water has been published.

The department received 136 responses to the original consultation on the arrangements for consideration of proposals on the fluoridation of drinking water, which ran from September to November 2013. There was a wide range of responses, from individuals and organisations concerned with dental and public health, local government and the quality of drinking water.

Following consideration of the responses, the department made the following policy changes in drafting the Water Fluoridation (Proposals and Consultation) (England) Regulations laid before Parliament on 19 February 2013:

  • more discretion for local authorities over matters such as the composition of the joint committees that will progress consultations on fluoridation proposals where more than one local authority is affected by the proposal
  •  simplification of procedures e.g. all decisions on fluoridation proposals to  be decided by weighted voting of local authorities, the weighting between local authorities being determined by the proportion of population of each local authority that would be affected by the fluoridation proposal.
  • the setting of a 20-year interval between consultations on the termination of fluoridation schemes

Under the Health and Social Care Act 2012, responsibility for conducting consultations on proposals for new fluoridation schemes, or the variation or termination of existing fluoridation schemes, will transfer to local authorities from 1 April 2013.

Files:

Overview

Consultation on the arrangements for consideration of proposals on the fluoridation of drinking water

The Department is consulting on the process local authorities will use to conduct consultations on fluoridation of drinking water. We are not consulting on the benefits or disadvantages of fluoridation.

This consultation document is an opportunity for the Department to obtain the views of local authorities, NHS commissioners, public health professionals, service providers, equality representatives and all other interested parties on the future arrangements for consulting on proposals for fluoridation schemes.

Under the Health and Social Care Act 2012, responsibility for conducting consultations on proposals for new fluoridation schemes, or the variation or termination of existing fluoridation schemes, will transfer to local authorities from 1 April 2013. 

We propose a number of options in the consultation document and, in most cases, our consultation questions relate to the options we have considered. As a general principle, we have sought to minimise the level of prescription to ensure that the system works effectively without major risk of legal challenge.

Any decision to take further policy action on proposals for fluoridation schemes will only be taken after we have fully considered responses to the consultation, evidence and other relevant information. These will inform the drafting of new regulations for the fluoridation of drinking water, which we intend to come into effect from April 2013.

The consultation closes on 27 November 2012.

Audiences

  • GPs
  • Health visitors
  • Commissioners
  • Directors of Public Health
  • Doctors
  • Dentists
  • Local authority
  • Members of the public

Interests

  • Public health
  • Public Health England
  • Oral public health
  • Health Protection Agency
  • Primary care