Process and methods

14 The production of guidance

14 The production of guidance

At a further Committee meeting, the Committee reviews the consultation document. It considers all the comments received during consultation and makes appropriate changes to the draft guidance. The Committee makes its final decision on the recommendations in the closed part of the meeting (discussion is divided into a part 1: open and a part 2: closed, in accordance with Section 1(2) of the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960).

During the consultation period, an updated literature search is done by the guidance information services team to look for any further evidence that has been published since the overview was prepared. Any studies that meet the initial inclusion criteria are presented to the Committee when the consultation comments are discussed at the post-consultation Committee meeting, and are considered for inclusion in an updated overview. Also, the programme team investigates any relevant evidence highlighted by consultees and presents it to the Committee. This evidence, along with that in the overview, forms the final body of evidence on which the Committee's recommendations are based. The overview is then updated by the programme team before the final guidance is published.

Consultation comments and NICE's responses to them are tabulated for each procedure. The table is published on NICE's website at the same time as the guidance. Individual consultees' comments are anonymised. NICE reserves the right to summarise and edit comments received during consultations, or not to publish them at all when, in the reasonable opinion of NICE, the comments are voluminous, or publication would be unlawful or otherwise inappropriate.

From time to time, comments received during consultation may prompt the Committee to:

  • issue a new consultation document (typically, because the recommendations or the evidence base have changed substantially such that another public consultation is necessary), or

  • refer the procedure to an External Assessment Centre for a systematic review (see section 9.4), or

  • issue no guidance.

An explanatory statement is then placed on NICE's website.

NICE may decide to pause the development of guidance on a procedure, if important 'in press' or unpublished data are identified at consultation, until the new information is available.

The NICE Guidance Executive receives and considers the final guidance on behalf of the NICE Board. At this stage, the final guidance is subject to the resolution process.