Public involvement in research is an established part of the research process in the UK, however there remain questions about what good public involvement in research looks and feels like. Until now public involvement practitioners, researchers and members of the public have looked for answers in examples shared across networks, published case studies, guidance and research articles. Pulling these strands together, the UK Standards for Public Involvement provides six statements (standards) about public involvement in research. They were produced by a partnership of organisations from Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and England with contributions from involvement practitioners, public partners, researchers and research funders.
Each standard has reflective questions, which are designed to encourage standard users to use approaches and behaviours that improve involvement, over time. The standards are designed to be used as a practical tool, and reflect the agreed hallmarks of good public involvement in research for example, flexibility in approaches used, shared learning, and mutual respect.
The standards development process is described from the initial idea and scoping, via the appraisal of existing standard sets and integration of values and principles in public involvement in research. The collaborative writing process of and consultation on the draft standard set is described, together with what changed as a result of feedback. The initiation of a year-long testing programme with forty participating research organisations, the experiential feedback and the resulting changes to the standards is summarised.
This commentary paper describes, in some detail, a process to develop a set of six standards for public involvement in research in the UK. Producing a complex, national public involvement initiative is not without its challenges, and in supplementary material partnership members reflect on and share their experiences of standards development. The next phase of integration and implementation is explored with concluding comments from those that tested and helped improve the standards.
Healthcare professionals who wish to be part of a unique network, providing access to up-to-date, accurate and validated information about clinical research.
Investigators and study staff who wish to be part of a unique network, in order to stay abreast of clinical trials taking place in Luxembourg and who are willing to further develop their competencies.