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, and training which can be provided. All links on this page open in a new tab unless otherwise specified. 

Please note that we are currently receiving a high volume of requests and appreciate your patience during this period. Some aspects of our service offer may be delayed.

UKHSA Knowledge and Evidence Specialists supporting local authorities in your region

Select the name of the Knowledge and Evidence Specialist to open an email. 

Region Knowledge & Evidence Specialist 
North East Sarah Catton
North West Helen Medley
Yorkshire and Humber Sarah Catton
East of England Sophie Pattison
East and West Midlands Mary West
London Megan Cox and Charlotte Bruce
South West Megan Cox
South East Charlotte Bruce


Support and resources for local authority public health teams

OpenAthens eligibility

All local authority public health staff that work directly in in public health 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. Please select ‘Public Health Staff in England’ as your Organisation.

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 [email protected] 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A literature search is a detailed, comprehensive and systematic search of the literature (published and unpublished) from a variety of quality sources about specific topics or conditions.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 public health topics. Regional UKHSA Knowledge and Evidence Specialist (KES) have already completed numerous 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 [email protected].

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. 

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. 

​How to request a literature search 

There are two ways in which you can request a literature search, either by contacting your local Knowledge and Evidence Specialist or by using the KLS enquiries portal.

Contact your local Knowledge and Evidence Specialist

You can contact your local Knowledge and Evidence Specialist with your search request. You will be asked to consider your search question, limits (such as date, language or location), and the format you would like to receive your results (Word document or Excel spreadsheet); you may be asked further questions.

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 [email protected] 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.
      4. Fill in the online form provided, add any attachments necessary (e.g. a protocol, a list of search terms or references etc.) and click Create ticket.

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

UK 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 for local public health teams – a single search across a range of content from multiple information resources.

An OpenAthens account is required to access these resources.

EBSCO Discovery 

The LAPH Discovery Service is a single search across a range of content from multiple information resources.

You can search and access the 5000 journal titles currently provided by UKHSA, along with nationally procured core content journals

To get the best out of this platform we have provided you with some user guides:

Local authority public health teams can request training  on using the Discovery Service from UKHSA Knowledge and Library Services.


Browzine is a mobile and desktop app that allows you to access and browse e-journals from different publishers in one simple interface on any device.

Use BrowZine to:

  • Read scholarly journals
  • Create a bookshelf of your favourite journals
  • Get alerts when new issues of journals become available
  • Bookmark articles for future reference

LibKey Nomad

LibKey Nomad is a browser extension for Google Chrome, Firefox and Edge that automatically provides instant links to full text content for article subscribed to by UKHSA - or open access alternatives - as you do research on the web and come across literature on publisher websites, PubMed, Wikipedia and more. There is a LibKey Nomad user guide here (Opens as a PDF).

You can easily install this extension via the Chrome web store (for Google Chrome), the Firefox extension store or the Edge Add-ons store. Once you have clicked install, you will be prompted to select the institution you belong to - you should select Public Health staff in England. The extension will then have been installed. You may have to contact your local IT department if you are having problems adding the extension, and direct them to LibKey Nomad's Support Page for further information.

NHS Core Content

Further to UKHSA’s resources you have access to NHS subscribed journals and databases, information can be found on NICE’s Knowledge resources 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.

Find our more about resources available to you in Finding the evidence: Research support for public health teams based in Local Authorities.

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 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 
  • search limits and filters

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 evidence hierarchies 
  • key elements to a systematic review 
  • some (very basic) statistics 
  • group appraisal and discussion of a systematic review using a checklist

Further information on training 

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 [email protected] 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:


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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