National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)
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NICE publishes updated principles

NICE has published a simple guide to the way we develop our guidance and standards.

The NICE principles document is designed to help anyone interested in NICE better understand what we take into account when developing our guidance. It replaces the NICE Social Value Judgements (SVJ) document first published in 2005.

This does not signal a departure from our current methods and processes: the new principles build on the original Social Value Judgements and are fully consistent with the methods and process guides that set out the fine detail of how we work.

The new guide focuses on the key principles that apply across all our guidance and standards in an accessible format.

Our independent advisory committees often face uncertainty and choices in interpreting the evidence available to them. The NICE Principles, the other advice in our methods guides and our Charter all help them do this.

This publication follows a public consultation on a draft version of the NICE principles, developed with the input of stakeholders, and approval by the NICE Board at its meeting last month of the final version.

Sir Andrew Dillion, NICE chief executive, said: “We know that our guidance has important consequences for people who use our health and care services. It’s important to them and to us that our approach to making recommendations is clearly set out so that everyone can see how these sometimes difficult decisions are made.

“The principles on which we base our work include concepts such as transparency, engagement and contestability. As our programmes have developed and new responsibilities have been added, we have had to keep these principles up to date. The new NICE Principles document is the latest iteration of that.”

The 13 principles described in the new document are:

  • Prepare guidance and standards on topics that reflect national priorities for health and care.
  • Describe our approach in process and methods manuals and review them regularly.
  • Use independent advisory committees to develop recommendations.
  • Take into account the advice and experience of people using services and their carers or advocates, health and social care professionals, commissioners, providers and the public.
  • Offer people interested in the topic the opportunity to comment on and influence our recommendations.
  • Use evidence that is relevant, reliable and robust.
  • Base our recommendations on an assessment of population benefits and value for money.
  • Support innovation in the provision and organisation of health and social care services.
  • Aim to reduce health inequalities.
  • Consider whether it is appropriate to make different recommendations for different groups of people.
  • Propose new research questions and data collection to resolve uncertainties in the evidence.
  • Publish and disseminate our recommendations and provide support to encourage their adoption.
  • Assess the need to update our recommendations in line with new evidence.

Our independent advisory committees will be expected to apply the new NICE principles to inform their decision-making with immediate effect.

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