Process and methods

14 Finalising and publishing the guidance

Once the consultation period has ended, the Guidance Development Group (GDG) and NICE project team meet to consider any changes needed to the good practice guidance (GPG) in response to the stakeholder comments received during consultation. Once the changes have been agreed, modifications are made to the GPG.

The content of the GPG and references are checked by the NICE project team before it is sent to NICE editorial team. NICE editorial team carries out the detailed editing of the GPG. Sections 14.1 and 14.2 describe the roles of the NICE project team and NICE editorial team.

14.1 Technical check

Once all the changes have been made after consultation, a member of the NICE project team, other than the author(s), checks the content and all the references used to develop the GPG. This involves checking:

  • wording is factual, not alarmist or controversial, or may cause reputational risk

  • ensuring any data, facts and figures quoted are correct and are represented in a fair and balanced way

  • abbreviations:

    • written out in full at first use in each main section, hyperlinked if appropriate to the relevant text, then abbreviated and not hyperlinked for subsequent use within the section

  • hyperlinks:

    • are working and link to the appropriate information

    • no relevant hyperlinks are missing

  • legislation:

    • is quoted accurately with the name and date of the piece of legislation

    • where hyperlinks are used, it links to the intended piece of legislation

  • references:

    • quoted correctly, are complete, are in consecutive order

    • information/wording that is referenced in the text is actually sourced in the reference material and this is accurately reproduced

    • hyperlinks used where appropriate to link to the relevant reference

    • footnotes used where required

  • any cross references to other sections are relevant and discuss what has been referred to

  • recommendations:

    • wording style of the recommendations (see section 12)

    • clear and unambiguous on their own, in the context of the section, without needing to refer to the text for clarification

    • are supported by the text in that section – so if a recommendation about expiry dates is made, this must be discussed in that section within the text

    • any cross references to other recommendations are related and relevant, and no relevant cross references have been missed

    • numbering is in order

    • all that relate to legislation is hyperlinked to the relevant legislation, or is referenced if possible.

14.2 Editorial checks

The GPG is edited by the NICE lead editor (see section 11.3). This involves checking:

  • general accuracy

  • it conforms to NICE's requirements in terms of style and format

  • consistency of wording, format and presentation

  • recommendations are unambiguous

  • the information is clear and appropriate for the intended audience.

The NICE project team makes any amends necessary after this check.

14.3 Validation procedure with the Guidance Development Group

The GDG validates the GPG at the final GDG meeting. Any requested amendments are made by the NICE project team and the final draft GPG is circulated to the GDG.

14.4 Final content sign off

The final draft of the GPG and the responses to stakeholder comments are reviewed and signed off by the project lead, the Programme Director and Centre for Clinical Practice Director. After changes have been agreed, the GPG is signed off by the NICE Guidance Executive.

14.5 Publication

Once the GPG is signed off by the NICE Guidance Executive, the NICE project team liaises with the Publishing and Web teams to arrange the upload of the GPG to the NICE website, and any related changes to GPG web pages. The GPG is published in both web format and PDF format; the content in each format is the same.

14.6 Launch and promotion

The publication and launch of the GPG is publicised in a number of ways:

  • alerting registered stakeholders via email (this happens before the general alert)

  • notifying individuals signed up to receive NICE medicines and prescribing alerts

  • releasing a press release

  • listing the GPG on the published guidance page.

14.6.1 The press launch

The communications lead at NICE talks to the project team and GDG about what kind of launch is appropriate for each GPG – this may be a press conference or a more targeted approach to the specialist or trade press.

If there is likely to be substantial media interest in the GPG, a press conference will be held 1 or 2 days before publication, usually at NICE's offices. This allows journalists to interview people involved in developing the GPG, and to prepare articles or broadcast pieces in advance. Information provided to the media is confidential until the launch date for the GPG.

Ideally, a press conference panel includes a representative from NICE (preferably the Centre for Clinical Practice Director who is responsible for signing off the GPG), the chair of the GDG, a relevant health or social care professional and a patient and carer representative. NICE provides training for panel members.

The NICE communications lead also ensures that relevant stakeholder organisations, such as professional bodies and patient organisations, are involved in the launch if appropriate.

All GDG members are encouraged to provide details of case studies that can be used to illustrate some of the GPG's key recommendations, because these are a good way of creating media interest.

The aim of the press briefing is to clearly communicate key messages about the GPG to the press and media; it is not a conference for healthcare professionals.

14.6.2 Reaching the target audience

NICE welcomes input from GDG members on how to identify groups of health and social care professionals and specialists who should be sent details of the GPG. GDG members may also be able to identify other ways of raising awareness of the GPG – for example, through newsletters, websites or training programmes of organisations they are affiliated to (particularly for patient and carer organisations), or by suggesting relevant conferences at which the GPG can be promoted.

Members of the GDG work with NICE to promote awareness of the GPG, both at the point of launch and afterwards.