2 Process for endorsement

This section outlines the process for identifying, assessing and quality assuring resources for endorsement. The diagram gives an overview of the assessment process.

Figure 1 Process for endorsement

Figure 1 Process for endorsement

2.1 Identification of support resources

Resource producers may present their guidance or quality standards support resource for NICE endorsement in response to:

  • a suggestion from NICE as part of identifying implementation needs for specific guidelines and quality standards during the development phase

  • an invitation on the endorsement webpage

  • an invitation in guidelines or quality standards NICE is currently considering for update, or NICE has identified as having poor uptake

  • identification of a resource as one which may act as an enabler to overcome an implementation barrier.

The programme will not consider a resource identified in any other way. It will not consider a generic resource, that is, one covering the general subject of NICE guidance or quality standards without reflecting specific recommendations or statements.

If a resource producer is approached by NICE to apply for endorsement, this does not guarantee that their resource will be endorsed, only that NICE is interested in considering the resource. Only those resources endorsed by NICE will be signposted to on the relevant NICE guidance and quality standards webpages.

2.2 Initial engagement with resource producers

When NICE identifies a resource intended to support implementation of NICE guidance or the use of a quality standard that is currently in development or nearing publication, NICE will contact the resource producer to confirm interest in their resource and to check eligibility for assessment. When a resource producer approaches NICE directly, eligibility will need to be confirmed before an assessment can be carried out; this may mean that an initial submission of the resource will be needed.

2.3 Eligibility

For a resource to be eligible for assessment it must:

  • help to implement NICE guidance and/or quality standards

  • be designed to support recommendations in NICE guidance and/or statements in quality standards

  • be designed for and have content applicable to, or which can be applied to, a UK health or social care setting

  • be usable as a stand-alone resource (that is, it does not need to be incorporated into another system or combined with something else to function)

  • be fully accessible to NICE for assessment.

Eligible applications:

  • will fill a gap or add value to existing NICE products, without duplicating them

  • will address an uptake issue or need, if relating to older guidance or quality standards

  • may cover recommendations or statements that have been identified (for example, during consultation) as having implementation challenges or difficulties

  • will not cover any area that already has at least 2 endorsed resources of this type for the guidance recommendations and/or quality standard statements

  • will have the majority of the resource relevant to NICE guidance or quality standards

  • will not contradict NICE recommendations or quality statements

  • will not have been produced by a company to support only their products

  • will reflect specifically some recommendations or statements and not be a generic resource covering only the general subject of the NICE guidance or quality standard.

NICE is particularly interested in support resources that address areas that are challenging to implement or have the greatest impact on outcomes.

2.4 Providing the initial submission

All resource producers applying for endorsement will be asked to complete an initial data‑gathering form, providing background information about their resource.

This will include questions covering:

  • the overall objective of the resource, for whom it is intended and how it is to be used

  • clear identification of which elements of the resource align to which specific recommendations in NICE guidance or quality standard statements

  • an explanation of how a user acquires the resource for use (this will include identification of any fees, licensing implications or software system requirements)

  • whether there are plans to update the resource routinely, aside of guidance recommendations changing.

The resource producer should provide a lead contact to liaise with the project manager as the submission progresses through the process, and a sponsor who has knowledge of the submission and can be contacted in the absence of the lead contact. Once accepted, the background information, resource and accompanying documentation is reviewed by an assessor.

2.5 Prioritisation

Priority will be given to resources intended to support implementation of NICE guidance and/or use of a quality standard currently in development or close to publication.

NICE may choose not to pursue endorsement assessments for all resources brought to our attention and will focus on those considered to have a high impact on outcomes or meet an implementation challenge.

2.6 Fees for endorsement

Any resource producer whose application for endorsement is accepted will be considered in relation to incurring a fee. Up-to-date details about fee charges are available separately from the endorsement project team by emailing endorsement@nice.org.uk.

2.7 Resource assessment criteria

The support resources are assessed using a set of questions supplemented by specific checks for consistency with the relevant NICE guidance recommendations or quality standard statements. Safe staffing assessments consider all the factors identified in the guidance recommendations, relevant to a toolkit, whereas other assessments only look at those recommendations or statements identified by the resource producer.

2.8 Producing the initial assessment

Once the support resource is accepted for assessment, an assessor will validate and assess the background information and the resource provided by the resource producer against the generic endorsement criteria (see appendix 1). The specific criteria are generated by the assessor in response to the recommendations or statements identified by the producer. Some recommendations or statements may only be confirmed once the relevant guidance or quality standard is in the final stages of publication or published.

The assessor prepares an assessment that describes how the support resource meets the generic criteria, categorising them as fully met, partially met or not met. NICE will only endorse the elements of the support resource that align with NICE guidance or quality standards and will look carefully when making an assessment for aspects of the resource that may be in conflict with NICE guidance or quality standards.

If 1 criterion is not met, the resource producer will be informed that the resource cannot be endorsed without amendment. This may not apply to resources that support safe staffing guidelines and would be dependent on the relevance and strength of the recommendation in the guideline.

If 2 or more criteria are partially met, the resource producer will be informed that the resource cannot be endorsed without amendment.

NICE also reserves the right to decide not to progress with an assessment if it is taking a large amount of time and the resource covers very few recommendations or statements. This decision would be discussed with the producer.

Once the generic assessment is completed it is quality assured by another member of the team.

An editor assesses whether the resource is consistent with the guidance recommendations or the quality standard statements that the producer has identified. If the assessment suggests that the resource does not align with what NICE has said, the producer will be asked to consider amending the resource. If the resource is amended it would be reassessed, providing that sufficient guidance recommendations or quality standard statements are covered by the resource and it continues to fill a gap to improve implementation.

NICE does not have the specific skills available to judge the quality of the resource submitted. A disclaimer is therefore added to any endorsed resource to indicate that this judgement has not been made.

Final sign off is provided by a relevant Associate Director.

2.9 Validation

NICE Publication Executive is an executive committee that acts under delegated authority of the NICE Board to review and approve documents for publication and ensure the endorsement process was followed. It reviews brief details of the resource and the proposed endorsement statement. If NICE Publication Executive raises any concerns, these will need to be resolved before progressing to publication.

2.10 Endorsement statement

The endorsement statement is only a reflection of those resources assessed and found to support what NICE has published.

Links to the support resource will be added to the relevant guidance or quality standard webpage and the endorsement page on the NICE website. The statement will be available on the endorsement webpage. A link to the resource may also be included in a NICE pathway. The endorsement statement is issued to the resource producer who will sign appropriate terms and conditions for use which will also refer to where and how the wording is displayed.

2.11 Reviewing the endorsed resource

The project team initiates a review of an endorsed resource when the relevant guidance or quality standard is reviewed and any relevant recommendations or statements are updated. If the resource is changed at any time, this could alter the original assessment. The producer should therefore notify the project team of any changes and the possible impact on the original endorsement decision. Any changes are assessed using the original process.