The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) together with its Welsh equivalent, Health and Care Research Wales, have joined forces to launch a project to develop standards for public involvement in research.
The Public Involvement Standards Development Partnership has a website which went live today where you can learn more and sign up to be part of a wider network that will help develop the standards over the coming months.
The debate about standards for public involvement has raged for years. East of Offa’s Dyke INVOLVE had developed a values and principles framework as a starting point. It was well received. Work to turn this framework into standards was given a fillip by the recommendation in in NIHR’s ‘Going the Extra Mile’ (2015) that:
“Culture: The NIHR should commission the development of a set of values, principles and standards for public involvement. These must be co-produced with the public and other partners. They should be framed in such a way, and with a clear set of self-assessment criteria, so that organisations across the NIHR see their adoption as integral to their continuous improvement in public involvement.” Going the Extra Mile report
Similar thinking had been taking place in Wales so it seemed logical for the two nations to come together rather than lock horns in taking the next step. Scotland and Northern Ireland have also shown an interest.
Preliminary work including a workshop has already taken place and you can find details of this work on the website. More importantly, the intended timeline for the project culminating in the publishing the standards at the INVOLVE Conference on 28th November 2017 can be found here.
This is a very important initiative. I appreciate ‘standards’ are not everyone’s cup of tea. But for organisations that are under constant – and I mean constant – pressure to demonstrate the impact of their public involvement work and by what measure, this work could be a ppi life-saver.
From an NIHR perspective my hope is that organisations and initiatives will be expected to adopt these standards and show progress against them.