The evidence review What Local Government Needs to Know about Public Health, which was undertaken by Professors Jane South, David J Hunter and Mark Gamsu, looks at existing research on local government and public health, with a particular focus on the leadership role of local government in developing local public health systems that are capable of addressing the wider determinants of health. Local policy makers and practitioners need credible and robust sources of information in developing the public health role of local government. In summarising existing knowledge, this report draws out relevant themes and common issues which may help shape thinking in local government about how to deal with some of the ‘wicked issues’ associated with improving the public’s health. Research reviewed here can be used to inform frameworks for action based on a social determinants approach to health and wellbeing, adapted as appropriate to particular local contexts. There are a number of places in the report where the implications for practice are discussed and options highlighted.