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Shared commitment to public involvement in health and social care research The Health Foundation has signed a shared commitment to improve public involvement in health and social care research

20 November 2023

About 2 mins to read

Our statement

The Health Foundation believes that involving people with multiple and diverse perspectives in our work will help us achieve greater impact and enable us to be more relevant and responsive to people in the UK. To drive this we want to embed public participation more consistently and more widely across our work.

Our strategic plan 2023–25 has recognised public participation as a key cross-cutting theme (along with environmental sustainability and equity, diversity and inclusion). We believe that signing up to the shared commitment to improve public involvement in health and social care research will help us take this work even further.

What is the shared commitment?

The Health Foundation is pleased to be joining other funders, regulators and research organisations who, working with members of the public, have signed up to a bold new shared commitment to improve public involvement in health and social care research in the UK.

The statement, signed by leaders at each organisation, reads:

'Public involvement is important, expected and possible in all types of health and social care research.

Together our organisations and members fund, support and regulate health and social care research. This statement is our joint commitment to improve the extent and quality of public involvement across the sector so that it is consistently excellent.

People have the right to be involved in all health and social care research. Excellent public involvement is an essential part of health and social care research and has been shown to improve its quality and impact. People’s lived experiences should be a key driver for health and social care research.

When we talk about public involvement, we mean all the ways in which the research community works together with people including patients, carers, advocates, service users, and members of the community. Excellent public involvement is inclusive, values all contributions, ensures people have a meaningful say in what happens and influences outcomes, as set out in the UK Standards for Public Involvement.

Working together we will support the research community to carry out excellent public involvement. We will provide or share guidance, policies, systems, and incentives. We will: 

  • listen to and learn from the people and communities we involve and apply and share that learning
  • build and share the evidence of how to involve the public and the impact this has
  • support improvements in equality, diversity, and inclusion in public involvement
  • promote the UK Standards for Public Involvement.

We will embed this commitment into the decision-making processes of our organisations.'

We’re delighted to make this shared commitment to improve public involvement in research. High quality public involvement can bring long lasting benefits, from improving the design and delivery of research to gaining new insights and ideas, and creating a deeper understanding of the complex issues we are trying to address.
Anita Charlesworth, Director of Research and REAL Centre
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