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A1 Code of conduct for Guideline Development Group (GDG) members and others who attend GDG meetings

A1 Code of conduct for Guideline Development Group (GDG) members and others who attend GDG meetings

A1.1 Key principles of development

NICE's clinical guideline development process:

  • involves and consults with national patient, service user and professional organisations (such as GDG members and stakeholders)

  • involves companies that manufacture relevant medicines or devices, and the Department of Health and the Welsh Government (as stakeholders)

  • uses robust and transparent methodologies

  • produces guidance that is based on the best available clinical and economic evidence, and is clearly explained.

GDGs should ensure that clinical guidelines cross-refer to or incorporate any relevant recommendations from NICE's other guidance programmes (for example, technology appraisal, interventional procedures or public health guidance), and should also take into account recommendations from appropriate national service frameworks (NSFs). Each GDG should ensure that its guideline is developed in line with these requirements. It should also follow the principles set out in Social value judgements: principles for the development of NICE guidance (second edition) and adhere to the NICE equality scheme.

A1.2 Status of GDG members

Members are appointed to a GDG either by virtue of their relevant experience (as in the case of patient, service user and carer members, and healthcare professional members) or because they have specific technical skills (as in the case of systematic reviewers and health economists). If members are from stakeholder organisations, NICE and the GDG assume that these members bring this perspective to the group, but do not represent their organisations. GDG members are appointed for the duration of the development process for a clinical guideline.

People appointed to the GDG are co-authors of the guideline. They will respect the rights of NICE both to publish the final guideline documents and to receive notification of associated publications, as described in contracts with the National Collaborating Centres (NCCs).

A1.3 Mutual undertaking

NICE, usually through one of its NCCs, undertakes to:

  • ensure that the GDG is properly resourced to produce the guideline

  • provide all members of the GDG with equal access to available resources and to the evidence used in the development of the guideline

  • offer appropriate training to GDG members to enable them to play a full part in the development of the guideline

  • provide technical support during the development of the guideline.

GDG members undertake to:

  • make sufficient time available to attend meetings and properly inform the development of the guideline through their personal and professional knowledge and, where appropriate, their organisation's perspective

  • provide the GDG, and subsequently (and only after failure to resolve the issue within the GDG) the NCC and NICE, with the opportunity to consider and resolve concerns or disagreements about either the process or the detail of the emerging guideline

  • contribute positively to the work of the group and the development of the guideline.

A1.4 Transparency

NICE believes that its guidance will be enhanced if those who are intended to benefit from it and those who have the responsibility for implementing it have had the opportunity to be involved in its development.

For GDGs to operate successfully, they need to be able to develop and debate issues within the group before exposing them to wider comment. There is therefore a need for arrangements that protect the confidentiality of documents and discussions.

In order to provide the environment described above, NICE expects GDG members:

  • to be aware that the Guidance Executive and Senior Management Team at NICE will not comment on the development of a guideline in progress, other than in the context of the formal consultation exercises

  • to regard the views expressed by individual members of the GDG as confidential

  • to regard the documents used and discussions held by the GDG as confidential to the group until public consultation, as stipulated in the 'Confidentiality acknowledgement and undertaking' agreement (see appendix A2)

  • not to discuss commercial-in-confidence data outside the GDG

  • to respect the confidentiality of documents supporting a published or unpublished technology appraisal and guidelines in development if such documents are received by the GDG

  • to respect the confidentiality of documents relating to other unpublished NICE guidance (such as interventional procedures, medical technologies or public health guidance) if such documents are received by the GDG.

GDG members are also expected to adhere to NICE's policy for declaring conflicts of interest (see also section A4.4).

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