Process and methods

11 Writing the good practice guidance

11.1 Guidance structure

Good practice guidance (GPG) contains all the recommendations, together with details of the methods used and the evidence underpinning the recommendations. It specifies the date of publication and the version of the methods guide used for developing the GPG. The NICE project team will use a standard GPG template.

The NICE project team drafts the GPG using a standard framework, which includes as a minimum the following:

  • title and contents page

  • date and version control information

  • introduction, which includes:

    • purpose

    • audience

    • scope

  • policy context

  • legislation and regulatory requirements

  • good practice recommendations

  • evidence and recommendations

  • how the GPG has been developed (methodology)

  • appendices:

    • glossary and abbreviations, if applicable to the GPG

    • key resources

    • scoping workshop attendees

    • Guidance Development Group and project team members

    • literature search strategy

    • additional evidence.

11.2 Writing style

Detailed instructions for writing GPG recommendations are given in Developing and wording guidance recommendations (see section 12).

When writing the GPG, the NICE project team follows NICE processes for writing guidance. The GPG is written in a style that can be understood by anyone who has a good knowledge of the guidance topic. Plain English is used, and unnecessary jargon avoided. The NICE Publishing team will advise on this.

11.2.1 Flowcharts

The GPG may contain a flowchart summarising a process. The flowchart should be uncluttered and follow a logical sequence. Arrows should mostly flow from top to bottom. Each decision should flow from the question that precedes it.

11.3 The role of the NICE Publishing team

One person from the NICE publishing team is designated as the lead editor for a particular GPG, although other members of the team also work on the GPG. The lead editor works with the project team and members of the GDG before, during and after consultation, and has a formal responsibility for NICE's publication. The lead editor and other members of the editorial team work on the GPG to ensure that:

  • they conform to NICE's requirements in terms of style and format

  • the recommendations are unambiguous

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

The lead editor advises the NICE project team and the GDG on recommendation wording during GPG development, and carries out detailed editing of the recommendations before consultation of the draft GPG.

After consultation, if required, the lead editor usually attends the GDG meeting at which stakeholder comments and changes to the GPG are discussed. They can advise on the wording of the recommendations at this meeting, and with the NICE project team, may edit the recommendations in detail after the meeting, if needed.

11.4 Version control

When drafting the GPG, version control is used to provide an audit trail for the revision and update of the finalised version. This allows for records to be made of the various drafts produced during the development process (see figure 1.1).

Version control allows development of the document to be easily understood and changes made by different individuals at different times can be identified.