NICE process and methods

11 How long does the topic selection process take?

11 How long does the topic selection process take?


The length of time taken for a topic to complete the selection and routing process can vary, depending on the available information about the topic and how early NICE was alerted to the topic. For example, further enquiries may be needed to find out how widely it is used in the NHS or whether there is an evidence base to assess the topic with. It is not always possible to achieve the standard times for each stage.


It takes between 4 and 12 weeks to complete the topic selection process. Table 2 shows the timeline for topic selection.

Table 2. Timeline for topic selection
Week number Topic selection activities

Technology identified.

1 to 4

Relevant eligibility criteria applied.

  • Technologies that are not eligible are not progressed further but can be reconsidered once the eligibility criteria are met.

4 to 12

Topic briefing developed for eligible technologies.

  • Companies, clinicians, patients, academics and regulators may be involved if relevant.

12 onwards

Selection decision and publication of the decision on the NICE website.

Scoping and guidance development is scheduled.

  • Technologies already available to the UK are scheduled to begin the process as soon as possible.

  • Technologies that are not available in the UK are scheduled so that the guidance publishes alongside, or as early as possible after, UK availability.

  • The publication of available evidence may also be taken into consideration in scheduling.