Appendix A Agreements and advice for Guidance Development Group members

A1 Code of conduct for Guidance Development Group (GDG) members and others who attend GDG meetings

A1.1 Key principles of development

NICE's social care guidance development process:

  • involves and consults with organisations that represent the interests of service users, carers, practitioners, providers, commissioners, researchers and the voluntary sector.

  • uses robust and transparent methodologies

  • produces guidance that is based on the best available evidence, and is clearly explained.

GDGs should ensure that social care guidance cross-refers to, or incorporates, any relevant recommendations from NICE's other guidance programmes (for example public health guidance, clinical guidelines), and should also take into account recommendations from appropriate national service frameworks (NSFs). Each GDG should ensure that its guidance is developed in line with these requirements. It should also follow the principles set out in Social value judgements: principles for the development of NICE guidance (second edition) and adhere to the NICE equality scheme.

A1.2 Status of GDG members

Members are appointed to a GDG either by virtue of their relevant experience (as in the case of service user and carer members, and social care practitioner members) or because they have specific technical skills (as in the case of systematic reviewers and health economists). If members are from stakeholder organisations, NICE and the GDG assume that these members bring this perspective to the group, but do not represent their organisations. GDG members are appointed for the duration of the development process for a social care guidance topic.

People appointed to the GDG are co-authors of the guidance. They will respect the rights of NICE both to publish the final guidance documents and to receive notification of associated publications, as described in contracts with the NICE Collaborating Centre (NCC).

A1.3 Mutual undertaking

NICE, usually through its NCC, undertakes to:

  • ensure that the GDG is properly resourced to produce the guidance

  • provide all members of the GDG with equal access to available resources and to the evidence used in the development of the guidance

  • offer appropriate training to GDG members to enable them to play a full part in the development of the guidance

  • provide technical support during the development of the guidance.

GDG members undertake to:

  • make sufficient time available to attend meetings and properly inform the development of the guidance through their personal and professional knowledge and, where appropriate, their organisation's perspective

  • provide the GDG, and subsequently (and only after failure to resolve the issue within the GDG) the NCC and NICE, with the opportunity to consider and resolve concerns or disagreements about either the process or the detail of the emerging guidance

  • contribute positively to the work of the group and the development of the guidance.

A1.4 Transparency

NICE believes that its guidance will be enhanced if those who are intended to benefit from it and those who have the responsibility for implementing it have had the opportunity to be involved in its development.

For GDGs to operate successfully, they need to be able to develop and debate issues within the group before exposing them to wider comment. There is therefore a need for arrangements that protect the confidentiality of documents and discussions.

In order to provide the environment described above, NICE expects GDG members:

  • to be aware that the Guidance Executive and Senior Management Team at NICE will not comment on the development of a guidance in progress, other than in the context of the formal consultation exercises

  • to regard the views expressed by individual members of the GDG as confidential

  • to regard the documents used and discussions held by the GDG as confidential to the group until public consultation, as stipulated in the 'Confidentiality acknowledgement and undertaking' agreement (see appendix A2)

  • not to discuss commercial-in-confidence data outside the GDG

  • to respect the confidentiality of documents supporting a published or unpublished technology appraisal and guidance in development if such documents are received by the GDG

  • to respect the confidentiality of documents relating to other unpublished NICE guidance (such as interventional procedures, medical technologies, clinical guidelines or public health guidance) if such documents are received by the GDG.

GDG members are also expected to adhere to NICE's policy for declaring conflicts of interest.

A2 Participation in NICE guidance: confidentiality acknowledgement and undertaking

Please complete the sections below and return by email to: [insert NCC email]

If email is not possible, please return by fax to: [insert NCC fax no.]

This agreement covers all those who have sight of documents, or are party to discussions, relating to guidance before public consultation. This includes members of the Guidance Development Group (GDG), invited external experts, observers and participants in consensus exercises. Staff of the NICE Collaborating Centre (NCC) are covered by the contract between NICE and the NCC.

1) I undertake to NICE that I shall:

(a) keep all confidential information strictly confidential

(b) not use any confidential information for any purpose other than participating in the deliberations of the GDG (for GDG members and external experts)

(c) not disclose any confidential information to any third party without the prior written consent of NICE

(d) not disclose the deliberations of a GDG to any other person without the explicit consent of the Chair of the GDG and the Director of the NCC.

2) The undertakings set out in paragraph 1 above ('the undertakings') shall not apply to the use or disclosure of information that:

(a) at or after the time of disclosure or acquisition is in the public domain in the form supplied otherwise than through a breach of any of the undertakings; or

(b) was lawfully within my possession before its disclosure to me by NICE, provided that the source of such information was not bound by, or subject to, a confidentiality agreement with NICE; or

(c) I am required to disclose by any court of competent jurisdiction or any government agency lawfully requesting the same, provided that I notify NICE in advance of such disclosure; or

(d) is approved for release by prior written authorisation from NICE.

Signed .…………………………………….…………………..Date ………………..

Print name ……………………………………………………………………………

Data Protection. The personal data submitted on this form will be used by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence for work on its Guidance Programmes and will be held on the NICE's databases for future reference and in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.