What lay members do

We use the phrase ‘lay member’ to refer to a member of one of our committees who has personal experience of using health or care services. The phrase could also refer to someone from a community affected by the committee's topic area.

Lay members can include:

  • people who use health and social care services
  • unpaid carers
  • advocates, or people who work with a relevant voluntary or support organisation.

Health or care professionals who work in a committee’s topic area are not eligible to apply for lay member roles but can apply to join a committee as a professional member.

View lay member vacancies

An illustration showing a variety of lay members.

The role of lay members

Lay members usually have an expert understanding of what matters most for people using health and care services.

They contribute to the committee's work by passing on the thoughts of patients, people who use services, carers, or communities. Lay members offer a different point of view from other members on a committee.

How we support lay members

Our Public Involvement Programme (PIP) supports all lay members before, during and after their time on one of our committees.

All members are given a PIP contact to guide them through their committee's work. Contacts are also on hand to answer any questions lay members may have.

What they do

During their time spent on a committee, lay members:

  • Identify issues of concern to people using NHS, public health or social care services.
  • Review topic information and the draft guidance from a patient, service user, carer or community perspective. For example, does the information address issues important to people affected by the guidance? Does the guidance take their views into account?.
  • Make sure the guidance considers people from different backgrounds.

Payments and expenses

Lay members receive an attendance fee for their work on our committees. They can also claim for certain expenses.

For more information about this, read our guide to lay member payments and expenses.