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Appendix E: Code of conduct for committee members

This code sets out the responsibilities of NICE and the committee, and the principles of transparency and confidentiality. The following principles should be read alongside the Terms of Reference and Standing Orders.

Key principles of guideline development

NICE's guideline development process:

  • uses the best available evidence and robust and transparent methods to develop recommendations that are clearly written

  • involves people affected by the guideline (including stakeholder organisations that represent the interests of people using services, their family members and carers, and the community, bodies that represent professionals and practitioners working in health and social care, local authorities, providers and commissioners of care and services, commercial industries and research bodies)

  • advances equality based on NICE's key principles that are universal to all guidance and standards

  • considers the feasibility of implementing the recommendations.

Each committee should ensure that its guideline is developed in line with these requirements. It should also ensure that the guideline cross-refers to or incorporates any relevant recommendations from NICE's other guidance programmes (for example, technology appraisal or interventional procedure guidance) as set out in the guideline scope (see the chapter of the manual on linking to other guidance). It should also consider recommendations from relevant national policy. The committee should also follow NICE's key principles that are universal to all guidance and standards and adhere to NICE's equality policy.

Status of committee members

Committee members are appointed to a committee by virtue of their relevant experience or because they have specific technical skills or knowledge. If members are from stakeholder organisations, NICE and the committee assume that these members bring this perspective to the group, but are not representing their organisations. For topic-specific committees, chairs and members are appointed for the period of development of a guideline or for up to 3 years to work on multiple guidelines within a topic area, with membership subject to renewal for a maximum total period of up to 10 years. Standing committee chairs and core members are appointed for a 3‑year period, with membership subject to renewal for a period of up to 10 years. Topic expert members of standing committees are appointed for the period of development of a guideline.

Committee members are co-authors of the guideline although the intellectual property of content arising from the guideline development process belongs to NICE. As such, they should respect the rights of NICE both to publish the final guideline and associated products (for example, products to support implementation) and they should notify NICE of any proposed publications related to their work on the guideline.

Responsibilities of NICE and committee members

NICE undertakes to ensure that:

  • the committee is properly resourced to produce the guideline

  • all members of the committee are provided with appropriate access to available resources

  • the support needs of all members of the committee are met to enable them to contribute fully to the work of the committee

  • appropriate training is offered to committee members to enable them to play a full part in the development of the guideline

  • committee members are provided with annual feedback and comment on their contribution when requested for revalidation or personal development

  • technical support is provided during the development of the guideline.

Committee members undertake to:

  • set aside enough time to attend committee meetings and properly inform the development of the guideline through their personal and professional knowledge

  • raise any concerns about process or details in the draft guideline with the committee, and try to resolve these issues within the committee, with support from the developer

  • contribute positively to the work of the committee and the development of the guideline

  • take full account of the evidence in developing recommendations

  • consider the analysis and interpretation of evidence prepared by the evidence review team

  • act in a professional manner, show good manners and be courteous to colleagues and staff at all times (committee members should behave in a polite, efficient and respectful manner and without bias or favour, using the highest standards of conduct expected in public life and service while on NICE duty)

  • be impartial and honest in the conduct of their official business, use public funds entrusted to them to the best advantage of NICE and do nothing that is deliberately intended to damage the confidence of the public or stakeholders in NICE

  • ensure that there is rigorous adherence to NICE's key principles that are universal to all guidance and standards and the NICE equality policy

  • read and adhere to NICE's policies on hospitality, declarations of interest and travel and subsistence.


NICE believes that its guidelines will be more meaningful if those who are intended to benefit from them and those who have the responsibility for implementing them have had the opportunity to be involved in their development.

The guideline development process is designed to be transparent. However, information and discussions may be restricted when material has been provided under agreement of commercial or academic confidentiality. There is therefore a need for arrangements that protect the confidentiality of documents and discussions. In order to protect confidentiality, NICE expects committee members:

  • to regard the discussions held in any closed committee sessions as confidential

  • not to discuss confidential papers and confidential information disclosed in committee discussions with colleagues who are not members of the committee, colleagues within their own organisation, other organisations, the media, or members of the committee who are excluded from discussions because of a conflict of interest

  • to respect the confidentiality of documents supporting published or in development NICE guidance, including guidance from other NICE programmes, if such documents are received by the committee.

Bullying, harassment and victimisation are unacceptable. NICE is committed to taking the necessary action to ensure that they do not occur, or if they do occur that they are dealt with appropriately.

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