Our guidelines are based on the best available evidence. Our recommendations are put together by experts, people using services, carers and the public.

Each guideline is developed according to a process that starts from the topic being chosen and extends to any future guideline updates.

  • 1

    Topics chosen

    Topics are referred to us from the following organisations:

     A number of factors influence the guidelines we develop and the order of development. 

  • 2

    Scope produced

    The scope outlines:

    • why there is a need for the guideline
    • the areas the guideline will and will not cover
    • what it intends to achieve.

    A draft scope is provided to organisations with an interest in the topic (known as stakeholders) to comment on. Following this, a final version of the scope is published.

    Read more about stakeholders and guideline developers.

  • 3

    Guideline developed

    • We review the evidence relevant to the guideline. This is developed by agreeing on review questions.

      Review questions help define literature searches, inform the planning and process of the evidence review, and act as a guide for the development of the recommendations.

    • A literature search is carried out. This may result in stakeholders providing additional evidence.

    • A summary of the evidence (known as an evidence review) is prepared.

    • The impact that the guideline will have on costs is then considered.

    • The evidence is considered by a committee made-up of practitioners, professionals, care providers, commissioners, those who use services and family members or carers.

      Read more about how our guidelines committee develops recommendations.

  • 4

    Draft guideline sent for consultation

    We send a draft version of the guideline to stakeholders. Equality issues are identified and considered before the guideline is sent out, and the guideline is assessed for its impact on equality.

    Read more about guideline consultations.

  • 5

    Comments considered, guideline revised

    The guideline developer considers comments from stakeholders and agrees any changes. The revised version is reviewed and checked for quality.

  • 6

    Guideline signed off and published

    Our senior team, known as the Guidance Executive, considers the guideline and signs it off for publication.

    We work with the Committee and the Developer to communicate, disseminate, promote awareness and implement the guideline at the time of publication and afterwards.

    Find out who is on our Guidance Executive.

  • 7

    Updating guidelines

    Our guidelines are updated regularly and prioritised according to users’ need for new and updated guidelines.

    Routine maintenance changes may also be made after publication, such as fixing broken links.

    Read more about updates of guidelines.

How we use evidence to inform recommendations on health and social care

  1. Our independent committees are made up of health and care professionals, people who use services, and carers. They agree review questions important to the topic area.
  2. We search for relevant studies that answer the committee’s questions.
  3. The studies are quality appraised and presented to the committee.
  4. The committee reads, discusses and understands the evidence.
  5. When forming their recommendations, they consider:
    • the quality of the evidence
    • expert testimony
    • how they will be used in practice.