Joining forces to improve public involvement and engagement

photo of patient advocate Stephen Hill

Today marks the one year anniversary of the launch of our Shared Commitment to improve public involvement and engagement in health and social care research. In recognition of this milestone we met with Stephen Hill, expert by experience, patient advocate and the NCCPE's public partner on the Shared Commitment.

In this short video, hear more about why Stephen got involved in the Shared Commitment, why he thinks it's so important, and what he'd like to see it achieve in future.

The Shared Commitment was developed in partnership with The Health Research Authority (HRA), the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), the NCCPE, and a host of leading UK health and social care organisations and members of the public, to drive up standards in health and social care through high-quality public involvement. 

It builds on work led by the Health Research Authority in response to the reduction in public involvement seen in studies submitted for approval at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Shared Commitment includes a joint pledge, which each organisation signs up to. Now, a year on since its launch in Science Week in March 2022, we are pleased to announce that NHS England have today joined us in the pledge!

Stephen Hill said of his experiences and hopes for the future: 

"Developing questions with people with lived experience actually just makes the questions much more pertinent. So, the outcomes are much more focused and relevant to what’s needed, and therefore more impactful.

"I’d like to think I won’t spend so much time talking to people…who see any sort of patient involvement in research as being a box that needs to be ticked, and move to a position where they just accept that [Public Involvement] is a natural, necessary and really important part of the research process. And I think the fact it’s getting the backing it is from so many important organisations really matters."

The Shared Commitment group are calling on other organisations involved in health and social care research to join the pledge, such as regulators, public bodies, charities, and NHS Trusts. We also encourage the research community to involve the public in the design and delivery of their research, and to contact Shared Commitment partners for support and guidance.

Matt Westmore, HRA chief executive, said:

"We launched the Shared Commitment to raise the profile, value and importance of public involvement in health and social care research.

"This is because involving the public in the design and delivery of research will help to make it more inclusive and reflective of our communities. There is also good evidence which shows excellent public involvement improves the quality of research.

"We want to support and inspire the research community to help them get this right and involve the public in a meaningful and beneficial way."

Paul Manners, NCCPE Co-Director said:

"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". 

Find out more about the Shared Commitment and how you can sign up