In 2018-19 the Centre for Ageing and Dementia Research (CADR) , along with the Wales School of Social Care Research (WSSCR), was one of ten testbed sites for the NIHR’s Standards for Public Involvement in Research; the only one in Wales.
The standards are aimed at people and organisations that do research, support research and involve the public in order to improve research. They are intended to provide a framework for reflecting on and improving the purpose, quality and consistency of public involvement in research. The standards describe the building blocks for good public involvement and provide a baseline of expectations. This helps the public know what to expect when involved in research, and researchers know what needs to be done.
The six standards are:
Offer public involvement opportunities that are accessible and that reach people and groups according to research needs.
- Working Together
Work together in a way that values all contributions, and that builds and sustains mutually respectful and productive relationships.
- Support and Learning
Offer and promote support and learning opportunities that build confidence and skills for public involvement in research.
Use plain language for well-timed and relevant communications, as part of involvement
Seek improvement by identifying and sharing the difference that public involvement makes to research.
Involve the public in research management, regulation, leadership and decision making.
During the course of the test year staff at CADR and WSSCR examined and worked with the standards, looking at how well they integrated with practice, as well as seeing how we could learn from applying them to our engagement activities. We provided feedback to NIHR and also supplied a number of case studies that highlighted the implementation of the standards to improve our public engagement activities.
Three of these case studies have now been incorporated in a handbook produced by NIHR entitled UK Standards for Public Involvement: Implementation Stories. The stories have been selected to show some different ways the standards were implemented and integrated into research activity by the various organisations involved in the testing phase, along with some reflections on the experience. CADR’s stories are numbers 10, 13 and 16.