New guidance for organisations on payment for public involvement in health and care research

Last updated on 12 Apr 2023

Members of the public who are involved in health and care research should be promptly paid for their time and expertise.

We know that sometimes the process for paying people for their time is something that the research community across the UK and the Republic of Ireland has said is complicated and inconsistently applied.

That means that sometimes people aren’t paid quickly, and this is a barrier to people getting involved in research.

Making it easier to pay public contributors

We have been working closely with the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) and Health and Care Research Wales to develop clear guidance for organisations on how public contributors should be paid for their involvement.

The ‘Payment for Public Involvement in Health and Care Research: A guide for organisations on employment status and tax’ guidance released today (12 April 2023) aims to give organisations the confidence and a clear framework to develop simple and timely payment policies.

This includes guidance on:

  • employment status
  • tax
  • impact on benefits

It builds on an earlier version of the guidance published in June 2022 released as ‘consultation in use’.

The guidance has been created in line with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) guidelines and has also been reviewed by human resources and finance professionals, public involvement leads, policy leads and members of the public with experience of payment issues. 


‘Public contributors provide a crucial perspective to research, and it is important that we recognise their contribution and value their time and expertise.

‘We know that the process for paying people can be difficult to navigate and to understand the technicalities of tax and employment status. This often leads to delays and unnecessary work for everyone involved.

‘Slow payment procedures for public contributors have been identified as a key barrier to people getting involved in research and this is another step in right direction to making it as easy as possible for people to contribute.

‘This guidance provides practical advice and guidance on how to pay public contributors in the most appropriate way. We hope that this helps organisations create simple payment policies that are used consistently for all public contributors.’

Jim Elliott, Public Involvement Lead, Health Research Authority

This guidance applies to organisations operating in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland.

You can find more guidance on public involvement inhealth and care research here.

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