NICE process and methods

11 Finalising and publishing the guideline recommendations

The guideline recommendations, rationales and evidence reviews are quality assured, as described in the chapter on the validation process for draft guidelines, and dealing with stakeholder comments. This chapter covers the sign-off process, publication and promoting guideline awareness through press and other communication events and channels.

11.1 Equality and health inequalities assessment

After consultation, and throughout the work done until the finalised guideline recommendations are submitted for sign-off, the equality and health inequality assessment is updated by the development team and the committee to show whether any additional equality issues have been identified, and how these have been addressed. The equality and health inequality assessment is also quality assured and signed off by relevant staff as specified in the equality and health inequalities assessment form. The assessment is then published on the NICE website with the final guideline recommendations.

11.2 Signing off the guideline recommendations

The guidance executive, made up of executive directors, guidance centre directors and senior team members, considers and approves guideline recommendations for publication on behalf of the Board. The guidance executive reviews a report from staff with responsibility for guideline quality assurance. The report details whether the guideline recommendations:

  • addresses all the issues identified in the scope

  • is consistent with the evidence

  • was developed using the agreed processes and methods

  • was developed with due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equality and foster good relations (see section above on equality and health inequalities assessment)

  • will lead to a resource impact when implemented.

When assessing the report, the guidance executive may ask the development team to answer specific queries. The guidance executive may also refer any matter to the executive team or Board for resolution if it considers a matter to be of particular significance or concern.

11.3 Embargoed release (releasing an advance copy to stakeholders)

Registered stakeholders who have commented on the draft guideline recommendations (see the chapter on the validation process for draft guidelines, and dealing with stakeholder comments), and agreed to conditions of confidentiality, may be sent the final guideline recommendations, the evidence reviews and a copy of the responses to stakeholder consultation comments 2 weeks before publication. This information is confidential until the guideline recommendations are published. This step allows registered stakeholders to highlight to NICE any substantive errors, and to prepare for publication and implementation. It is not an opportunity to comment further on the guideline recommendations. NICE should be notified of any substantive errors at least 1 week before publication of the guideline recommendations.

11.4 Publication

The guideline recommendations and its evidence reviews, methods, equality and health inequality assessment, responses to stakeholder comments, and support tools (see the chapter on support for putting the guideline recommendations into practice) are usually published at the same time.

11.5 Promoting awareness of the guideline recommendations

The development team and committee work with the media relations team and with the implementation lead, where relevant, to disseminate and promote awareness of the guideline recommendations from the time of publication. Each topic area is different and activities for raising awareness will vary depending on the type and content of the guideline recommendations.

We use a range of methods to raise awareness of the guideline recommendations, including:

  • notifying registered stakeholders of guideline recommendation publication

  • publishing news articles, blogs, newsletters and alerts

  • issuing a press release

  • using social media channels

  • promoting the guideline recommendations within NICE.

We may also use other means of raising awareness of the guideline recommendations – for example, training programmes, conferences, or implementation workshops.

Press and other communication events

A structured and considered exchange of information between NICE and the media helps promote awareness of the guideline recommendations and allows any potentially controversial aspects of the guideline recommendations to be explained and set in context.

Press meetings or conferences

At publication, a press release may be issued or a press meeting may be held, or both, but only if heightened media interest in the topic is likely.

Interviews and filming

At or outside a press conference, the media relations team may set up interviews or filming with:

  • people involved in developing the guideline recommendations (such as committee members) or

  • people with personal experience in the area the guideline recommendations cover (on seeking advice from the public involvement programme team) or

  • representatives from voluntary and community sector organisations and other stakeholders.

Participants are provided with any support and training needed.

Social media communication

Guideline recommendation publication is usually accompanied by activity on social media which may include graphics, animations, videos and quotes from key committee members or NICE directors. In most cases, this work will be prepared ahead of publication.

Rules about press and other communication events

Communication from NICE and committee members to the media

Information may be provided to the media under embargo until publication of the guideline recommendations. Committee members and development teams should not answer any press enquiries they receive before the guideline recommendations are published without involving the media relations team.

Media promotion of the guideline recommendations by external organisations

Committee members and development teams should tell the media relations team if any external organisations are planning their own media promotion for the guideline recommendations (for example by issuing their own press release).

Separate events arranged by committee members

Development teams should tell committee members to notify the media relations team at the earliest possible opportunity if they wish to arrange separate events at which practitioners, providers, commissioners, people using services and the public can learn more about the guideline recommendations.

Material developed from guideline recommendation content

Any materials developed from guideline recommendation content should be submitted to staff with responsibility for quality assurance before submission or presentation to external audiences.

Committee members who wish to publish their materials for a UK audience only may do so under the NICE UK open content licence. This is a self-assessment exercise and no fee is involved.

The international use, adaptation or contextualisation of NICE content is subject to a formal licensing agreement or contract (see NICE's webpage on reusing our content). For advice and support on adapting and contextualising NICE content, see NICE International's webpage on adapting NICE guidelines.