NICE opens up its committee meetings to the public
From June 2008 the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is opening its standing committee meetings to public observers as part of its commitment to openness and transparency. The first committee meetings to be open to the public are:
- 12 June: interventional procedures
- 11 July: public health interventions
- 18 September: technology appraisals
To help people understand how they can attend our public meetings, we have compiled a list of common questions with answers, some of which are outlined below.
Who constitutes a public observer?
Public observers might include:
- members of the public or press
- representatives from the pharmaceutical or healthcare industries or from patient and carer organisations who are not giving evidence to the committee.
How can I register to attend?
You can register on our website 20 working days prior to the meeting. Up to 20 places will be available. The closing date for completed application forms is 10 working days before the meeting.
Can public observers take part in the meeting?
As a public observer, you will be able to listen to the business of the meeting, except where confidential information is being discussed (see below). However, you will not be able to ask questions, take part in voting or put your views to members of the committee.
If I have any questions, who should I talk to?
The meetings in public coordinator, Bukky Gibson, who will identify herself at the meeting.
Will papers be provided for public attendees to follow the meeting?
An agenda and background information will be available on the NICE website 20 working days before the meeting.
Will I be able to listen to all the discussions?
This depends on whether some of the information the committee needs to discuss is confidential. If it is, then all public observers will be asked to leave the room while these discussions take place (this is called ‘part 2' of the meeting).
How long will it take to discuss each topic?
Committee meetings vary in length. The committee chair will outline the agenda for the day at the start of the meeting, and may give an indication of when certain topics will be discussed. It is important that all public attendees arrive promptly as meetings will not be delayed for late arrivals.
Do I have to attend the entire meeting?
No, but public observers are asked only to enter or leave meetings during a suitable break to minimise disruptions.
What facilities do you have to accommodate people with disabilities?
Our buildings comply with current legislation on accessibility for people with disabilities. However, please contact the meetings in public coordinator Bukky Gibson in advance, so that we can ensure appropriate support is in place. Her email address is email@example.com
Can I record the meeting?
Audio or video recording, and photographing, of committee meetings is not allowed by members of the press or public. If a public observer is found to be recording a meeting they will be asked to leave.
Can I talk to members of the committee/experts who present evidence?
We ask public observers to address any questions they have to the meetings in public coordinator in the first instance.
Requests for media interviews should be made via the NICE press office.
More information about attending these meetings can be found at
This page was last updated: 25 October 2010