Chapter 12 in Kemm, J., (eds.), Health Impact Assessment: Past achievement, current understanding and future progress, pp 117-125

This chapter describes the Wales Health Impact Assessment Support Unit (WHIASU) and the evolution of HIA in the context of Wales as a devolved nation with its particular approach to public health. The character of WHIASU can only properly be understood in terms of its history and the wider social, policy, and political context of which it is a part. WHIASU’s emphasis on involving people potentially affected by a proposal in HIA mirrors the emphasis in Welsh policy documents on citizen engagement as a mechanism for policy and service development. This was intended to contrast markedly with individual choice as the driver for change in England as well as resonating with a sociological theory of knowledge that supports the value of deliberative processes that involve lay people in dialogue with professionals.