Introduction: scope and purpose of this guidance

What is this guidance about?

This guidance aims to improve access to high quality contraceptive services, especially for young people up to the age of 25. The recommendations cover:

  • Assessing local need and capacity to target services.

  • Commissioning coordinated and comprehensive services.

  • Providing contraceptive services for young people.

  • Tailoring services for socially disadvantaged young people.

  • Seeking consent and ensuring confidentiality.

  • Providing contraceptive services after a pregnancy.

  • Providing contraceptive services after an abortion.

  • Providing condoms in addition to other methods of contraception.

  • Communicating with young people.

  • Training and continuing professional development.

Who is this guidance for?

The guidance is for: commissioners, managers and practitioners who have a direct or indirect role in, and responsibility for, contraceptive services. This includes those working in the NHS, local authorities, education and the wider public, private, voluntary and community sectors. It may also be of interest to young people, their parents and carers and other members of the public.

Why is this guidance being produced?

The Department of Health (DH) asked the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to produce this guidance.

The guidance should be implemented alongside other guidance and regulations (for more details see sections 4 and 7 on implementation and related NICE guidance respectively).

How was this guidance developed?

The recommendations are based on the best available evidence. They were developed by the Programme Development Group (PDG).

Members of the PDG are listed in appendix A.

The guidance was developed using the NICE public health programme process. See appendix B for details.

Supporting documents used to prepare this document are listed in appendix E.

What evidence is the guidance based on?

The evidence that the PDG considered included: reviews of the evidence, economic modelling, the testimony of expert witnesses, stakeholder comments and fieldwork. Further detail on the evidence is given in the considerations section (section 3) and appendices B and C.

In some cases the evidence was insufficient and the PDG has made recommendations for future research.

More details of the evidence on which this guidance is based, and NICE's processes for developing public health guidance, are on the NICE website.

Status of this guidance

The guidance complements, but does not replace, NICE guidance on: long-acting reversible contraception, looked after children and preventing sexually transmitted infections and under 18 conceptions (for further details, see section 7).

  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)