The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) provides national guidance and advice to improve health and social care.
NICE was originally set up in 1999 as the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, a special health authority, to reduce variation in the availability and quality of NHS treatments and care.
In 2005, after merging with the Health Development Agency, we began developing public health guidance to help prevent ill health and promote healthier lifestyles. Our name changed to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.
In April 2013 we were established in primary legislation, becoming a Non Departmental Public Body (NDPB) and placing us on a solid statutory footing as set out in the Health and Social Care Act 2012. At this time we took on responsibility for developing guidance and quality standards in social care, and our name changed once more to reflect these new responsibilities.
As an NDPB, we are accountable to our sponsor department, the Department of Health, but operationally we are independent of government. Our guidance and other recommendations are made by independent committees. The NICE Board sets our strategic priorities and policies, but the day to day decision-making is the responsibility of our Senior Management Team (SMT).
The way NICE was established in legislation means that our guidance is officially England-only. However, we have agreements to provide certain NICE products and services to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Decisions on how our guidance applies in these countries are made by the devolved administrations, who are often involved and consulted with in the development of NICE guidance. Read more about our guidance
Read more about who we are and what we do in our charter, and our principles for making social value judgements.
NICE charter PDF 440 Kb
NICE triennial review
In October 2014 the Department of Health announced that it would begin its three-yearly review of the function, form and governance of NICE as a non-departmental public body.
Working with others
The relationship between NICE and its sponsor department, the Department of Health, is described in a framework agreement.
This sets out roles and responsibilities, what accountability and governance arrangements are in place, and describes how DH is assured that NICE's role is being fulfilled efficiently and effectively.
The agreement also describes the specific guidance and other rules set by DH and central government that NICE must comply with.