Opening doors, breaking down barriers

Victoria discusses improvements in how NICE works with patients and the general public, which means there are now more ways than ever to get involved

Victoria Thomas, head of public involvement at NICE

Just over a year ago I reflected on how the public involvement programme at NICE moved from being perceived as an incarnation of the ‘Thought Police’ to a vital and valued element of our work.

Since then, we’ve developed our consultation paper and implementation plan (see item 7) with support from patients, lay people and voluntary and community sector organisations. We took on board comments from 119 organisations and individuals which proved invaluable in refining seven proposals on how to improve how we engage with people. These proposals are:

  1.  Removing unwarranted variations across programmes – making it simpler and easier for people to work with us
  2.  Enhancing the range of recruitment and involvement approaches across programmes  - creating an expert panel of contributors
  3.  Involving people early and throughout development of NICE guidance, standards and advice – ensuring issues that matter to patients and the public are up front and central to our work
  4.  Being clearer about how we find, generate, and use information, intelligence and evidence on people’s experiences of care – making better use of experiences and evidence that people have already shared, and piloting new ways of eliciting it
  5.  Improving feedback to people and organisations who work with us – letting you know what was useful and made a difference
  6.  Expanding use of social media and other technologies – making the best use of the spaces where people are already sharing their experiences
  7.  Make involvement everyone’s business – putting public involvement at the heart of NICE’s work by supporting staff outside of the public involvement programme in working with patients and the public.

We are putting our proposals into action this year. A major piece of this work will be developing an expert panel of lay people to help us across NICE programmes in a more flexible way. This means we can make best use of all the expertise and experience people are willing to share with us, but not necessarily in a committee setting.

We’ve started this process off by approaching people who’ve been lay members on our committees in the past - our ‘alumni’ – and we’ve had a fantastic response.

We’ll be updating our webpages throughout the year with new information and opportunities. If you’d like to know more please contact us on


Victoria Thomas, head of public involvement at NICE
Tags: public involvement, get involved, recommendations, consultation paper, implementation plan

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