quality practice, partnership working

Our Shared Commitment to improving public engagement

updated on 31 Jul 2023
4 minutes

The NCCPE have joined the Health Research Authority and a number of other organisations in a Shared Commitment to Public Involvement in health and social care.

Group of 3 young people and older person speaking together

14 / 12 / 2022

This year, the NCCPE joined the Health Research Authority, the National Institute for Health Research, UK Research and Innovation and a number of other organisations, in signing a Shared Commitment to Public Involvement.

One of the most exciting developments in public engagement over the last 12 months has been the increasing spirit of collaboration across different agencies working to support high quality engagement with the public, patients and communities.

Earlier this year, the NCCPE was delighted to work with a consortium of organisations and patient representatives to develop a short, simple and shared statement of commitment to improve and embed public involvement in health and social care research.

Patient advocate Stephen Hill, who is the NCCPE’s patient representative on the Shared Commitment coordinating group, said of the process:

“After suffering a haemorrhagic stroke seven years ago, I retired from full-time formal university life, and, somewhat serendipitously, developed a new identity as a patient advocate. I have been confused and then fascinated by the tribal issues between academics and health professionals which have led to the worlds of public engagement (PE) and patient/public involvement (PPI) seeming to be disconnected.

"The chance to serve as the NCCPE Public Contributor to the work on the Shared Commitment was a great opportunity to help address this disconnect.

“The resulting Shared Commitment was fully co-generated and co-authored by researchers and public contributors: it serves as a great step forward towards ensuring that all research in health and social care is fully informed at all stages from conception to publication by the voice of lived experience”.

The statement, signed by each organisation, reads:

A Shared Commitment

Public involvement is important, expected and possible in all types of health and social care research.

Together our organisations and members fund, support and regulate health and social care research. This statement is our joint commitment to improve the extent and quality of public involvement across the sector so that it is consistently excellent.

People have the right to be involved in all health and social care research. Excellent public involvement is an essential part of health and social care research and has been shown to improve (PDF, 413KB) its quality and impact. People’s lived experiences should be a key driver for health and social care research.

When we talk about public involvement, we mean all the ways in which the research community works together with people including:

  • patients
  • carers
  • advocates
  • service users
  • members of the community

Excellent public involvement is inclusive, values all contributions, ensures people have a meaningful say in what happens and influences outcomes, as set out in the UK Standards for Public Involvement.

Working together we will support the research community to carry out excellent public involvement. We will provide or share guidance, policies, systems, and incentives. We will:

  • listen to and learn from the people and communities we involve and apply and share that learning
  • build and share the evidence of how to involve the public and the impact this has
  • support improvements in equality, diversity, and inclusion in public involvement
  • promote the UK Standards for Public Involvement.

We will embed this commitment into the decision-making processes of our organisations

Other signatories include:

Paul Manners, Co-Director of the NCCPE commented:

“The Shared Commitment is an important milestone in joining up efforts to ensure that excellent public involvement is seen as an essential part of excellent health and social care research. This shared statement, developed with patients, research participants and leaders in health and social care research, will help to ensure that there is greater common purpose across the different communities – including public engagement professionals – who are committed to this work.

"For the first time the entire research system is sending the same strong message. That public engagement and involvement is always important, always expected and always possible. The evidence is that better research results from involvement, and better research delivers benefits for patients. We are delighted to be involved longer term in supporting the roll out of this work.”