Support for Local Authority Public Health Teams

This page is for local authority public health staff. The resources available from the page are presented as part of The UK Health Security Agency’s (UKHSA) remit to work collaboratively and support the wider public health agenda. You will find information on; your local Knowledge and Evidence Specialists, OpenAthens, library and evidence support available to you, resources you can access, training which can be provided and links to COVID-19 resources. 


UKHSA Knowledge and Evidence Specialists supporting COVID response and recovery in local authorities in your region

Region Knowledge & Evidence Specialist 
North East Sarah Catton
North West Tanya Williamson
Yorkshire and Humber Sarah Catton
East of England Helen Medley
East and West Midlands Megan Cox
London Sam Thomas and Charlotte Prew
South West Sam Thomas
South East Charlotte Prew



Support and resources for local authority public health teams

OpenAthens eligibility

All local authority public health staff are eligible for an OpenAthens account. An OpenAthens account allows you to access a range of resources, included UKHSA subscribed electronic resources (e-journals, EBSCO Discovery and BrowZine), as well as NHS provided content.  

Registering for an OpenAthens account 

You can register for an OpenAthens account at NICE OpenAthens. A majority of local authority public health staff will need to choose ‘Public health staff in England’ as your Organisation when registering.
For more information, watch our video on OpenAthens registration (Runtime: 2 minutes 43 seconds).

Logging in

When you log in to your OpenAthens account, you will see the ‘My Resources’ section. This provides a list of all resources available to you.

Forgotten password

If you have forgotten your password, you can reset this yourself from the NICE forgotten password page.

OpenAthens enquiries

For any enquiries about using OpenAthens, please contact and we will be happy to help.

What is a literature search?

A literature search is a detailed, comprehensive and systematic search of the literature (published and unpublished) from a variety of quality sources about specific topics or conditions.
The search yields a set of results on the topic in question – usually a list of journal articles and reports, each containing a summary (known as an abstract).

Why should you request a literature search?

The results of a literature search will allow you to get an overview of what is known about a topic. This is often referred to as the ‘evidence base’ and should be an integral part of informing and shaping service provision to meet the needs of your local population.

What topics can we undertake a literature search on?

Public Health staff working within local authorities can request literature searches on topics about, and relating to, the Covid-19 pandemic. These topics can be related to either the immediate response to the pandemic, or the recovery from the pandemic such as vaccine uptake in different demographics, transmission mitigation in certain settings or the effect of specific interventions, long Covid or planning for future service provision.

Regional UKHSA Knowledge and Evidence Specialist (KES) have already completed numerous Covid-19 literature searches for colleagues working in local authorities across England. Local authority staff can find out more about the literature searches we have already completed by emailing their regional UKHSA Knowledge and Evidence Specialist (KES) (details at the top of this page), or by emailing

What literature searches do UKHSA KLS offer to local authority public health staff?

Knowledge and Library Services offer two types of output for your literature search results:

1. Bibliography

This is a simple list of the relevant results of a literature search, in chronological or author order. This type of search will usually take at least 1 week.

2. Annotated bibliography

This is a list of the relevant results of a literature search that have been screened and categorised by the library staff (e.g. by publication type or theme), and/or contain the methods and results for each article or an associated commentary. This type of search will usually take at least 2 weeks.

​Request a literature search via the KLS enquiries portal

You will need to be registered on the UKHSA Knowledge and Library Services enquiries portal in order to request a literature search. It is easy to register, just follow the instructions below.

Instructions for use

Important: Read these instructions first, then go to the ‘request a literature search’ link below.

      1. Click on request a literature search, below. From this page you will need to login to make enquiries, including literature search requests. Your username will be your email address. If this is your first time logging in, please contact to register and obtain your password.
      2. Once you have logged in with your username and password, this will take you to our request system.
      3. You will see a list of different types of enquiry (described as Queues) – choose the most appropriate one for your enquiry. For example, if you wish to request a literature search, select the Literature Searches option.

Fill in the online form provided, add any attachments necessary (e.g. a protocol, a list of search terms or references etc.) and click Submit.

Note that anonymised literature search results of recently conducted searches are sometimes shared externally with colleagues in local authorities in England.

United Kingdom Health Security Agency resources

As a member of a local authority public health team you have access to a range of electronic resources, including:

  • Access to over 5000 journals, which can be browsed on BrowZine – the easy way to access, read and bookmark journals and articles.
  • EBSCO Discovery (Library catalogue) for local public health teams – a single search across a range of content from multiple information resources.

Learn more about these resources on our local authority public health resources page.

Health Education England (HEE) and local NHS resources

Further to UKHSA’s resources you have access to NHS subscribed journals and databases, information can be found on NICE’s Journals and databases page. You also may have access to additional content from the local NHS service.

Further resources

Libraries Connected and the Reading Agency have made a collection of research journals, including public health titles,  available in public libraries.

Knowledge and Evidence Specialists can offer the following training sessions to local authority public health teams and staff:

Introduction to the knowledge and evidence service ·         Who we are and how to contact us

·         Introduction to services we can offer you

Using EBSCO Discovery and BrowZine How to use the EBSCO Discovery and BrowZine to: 

·         browse and view journals and articles 

·         undertake scoping searches 

Finding the evidence Training on literature searching: 

·         plan and define your search

·         create your search strategy

·         identify available sources

·         input search terms and apply limits and filters

·         assess and amend your results

·         save your search history and search results

·         obtain full-text

​·         manage references 

*NEW* Introduction to critical appraisal: Systematic reviews This session introduces critical appraisal and provides an opportunity to take part in a facilitated critical appraisal of a systematic review. It covers:

·         Importance of critical appraisal

·         Evidence-Based Practice Cycle and Hierarchy of Evidence

·         Types of study design

·         Key elements of a good systematic review

         Focused question

         Search strategy

         Quality assessment

         Appropriate statistical analyses


·         Some (very basic) statistics

·         Group appraisal and discussion of a systematic review using a checklist

If you would like to arrange a training session for your team, or if you are interested in a topic which is not listed, please contact to discuss your requirements.

Additionally, a programme of training in finding the evidence is available from local NHS libraries for those LAPH teams who have arranged a service.

There is also a range of online resources available:

Health Education England’s Literature Searching e-learning module

UKHSA’s ‘Finding the evidence’ guides:

UKHSA has a range of resources available to local authority public health teams to aid you in finding the evidence on COVID-19, this can be found by;

  • Visiting our COVID-19 pages:
    Finding the evidence: Coronavirus, a page of resources to help you identify and access emerging evidence as it is published, including resources for UK public health professionals, epidemiological information and fact checking.
    UKHSA COVID-19 Rapid Reviews, view UKHSA’s Evidence team’s evidence summaries and evidence gaps.
  • Or request a literature search on COVID-19 response and recovery topics from your regional KES.

If you have used our service, we would like to hear your feedback. Knowledge and Evidence Specialists are collecting impact stories to learn how you are using the evidence we provide to you. Learn more about impact stories by visiting the Impact Stories page.


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