Developing NICE clinical guidelines
This is a brief summary of how NICE develops clinical guidelines. See all clinical guidelines currently in development.
- Guideline topic is referred.
The Department of Health refers clinical guideline topics to NICE.
- Stakeholders register interest.
National organisations representing patients and carers, and also health professionals involved in their care can register as stakeholders. Stakeholders are consulted throughout the guideline development process.
Read more about stakeholder registration.
- Scope prepared.
The National Collaborating Centre (NCC) commissioned to develop the guideline prepares the scope. This document sets out what the guideline will - and will not - cover. NICE, registered stakeholders and an independent guideline review panel can all contribute to the development of the scope.
Read more about our National Collaborating Centres.
- Guideline development group established.
This group is made up of health professionals, representatives of patient and carer groups and technical experts. The group is recruited during the scoping phase: if required, one member may be recruited at the start of scoping.
Read more about guideline development groups.
- Draft guideline produced.
To produce the draft guideline, the group assesses the available evidence and makes recommendations.
- Consultation on the draft guideline.
There is at least one public consultation period for registered stakeholders to comment on the draft guideline.
- Final guideline produced.
After the guideline development group finalises the recommendations, the collaborating centre produces the final guideline.
- Guidance issued.
NICE formally approves the final guideline and issues its guidance to the NHS.
Short guideline process
Short clinical guidelines are designed specifically to address clinical questions which do not meet the topic selection criteria for a traditional clinical guideline or technology appraisal, but nevertheless require guidance to be produced by the Institute.
Short clinical guidelines are developed to the same rigorous methods as existing clinical guidelines but they are produced within a shorter 9 -11 month timescale. The criteria for their referral to NICE are the same as for topics selected for the main clinical guidelines programme, with an additional judgement about the urgency of the advice.
Rapid updates are used to update discrete parts of published clinical guidelines, through a Clinical Guidelines Updates Standing Committee (pilot programme started in October 2013). The Committee develops recommendations for the NHS in accordance with NICE's published methods. Guidelines eligible for a rapid update by the standing committee are those focusing on small and very defined areas of the guideline.
- Clinical guideline development methods
- How NICE clinical guidelines are developed: an overview for stakeholders, the public and the NHS (fifth edition)
- Developing costing tools - methods guide
- Factsheets for the public - contributing to a NICE clinical guideline
- Positively Equal: a guide to addressing equality issues in developing clinical guidelines
This page was last updated: 07 February 2014