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Join our Community Committee

Last updated on 3 May 2023

Are you interested in helping shape how we make it easy to do research that people can trust?

We want to involve you to help us to make better decisions and ensure that health and social care research is done with and for everyone. Our strategy, ‘Making it easy to do research that people can trust’, sets out our ambitions:

  • to make better decisions by working with a diverse group of people with a range of lived experiences
  • to make sure that anyone who wants to get involved in research, is able to do so

In November 2022, we asked for your views on the best way to do this. Following the consultation, we are making plans to form a new committee that will be a part of our governance structure and will report to the HRA board. The committee will increase the role of our volunteers and the members of the public we work with closely, ensuring that your views inform what we do.

What will be involved?

The committee will meet online for up to two hours every three months, ahead of the HRA board meetings. The committee will be asked to review and comment on proposals that affect our volunteers and the members of the public who support our work where their insights, experience and advice can help us make better decisions before these are presented to the board.

An agenda and any papers will be sent a week before each meeting. You may be required to read one or two papers in advance of the meeting so that you are prepared for any discussion. Some tasks may need a lot of concentration on written documents. Other tasks may involve discussing your own experiences of working with the HRA.

One of the first tasks for the committee will be to work together to shape how the Community Committee will work with our board.

Who are we looking for?

Anyone is welcome to express an interest in joining the committee. You might be newly appointed or a long-standing member of a Research Ethics Committee or the Confidentiality Advisory Group, or a member of the public. You may have worked with us many times, just once or you may be planning to become more involved – everyone’s experience is valued.

We know that we can make better decisions by working with a diverse group of people that bring different lived experiences and perspectives. We know that different ideas, perspectives, and backgrounds create stronger, more creative ways of working, that help us to achieve the ambitions in our strategy.

We therefore welcome expressions of interest from individuals who can bring a rich diversity of backgrounds and experiences of age, disability, neurodiversity, ethnicity, gender identity, religion, belief, sex, and sexual orientation. We also value other life experiences that shape attitudes. For example, views from people who have a range of experiences can only enrich our work and thinking. This could include being a carer, having experience of the social care system, living in areas that are deprived or rural, or facing challenges with access to education or work opportunities.

What skills or experience do I need to take part?

You do not need experience of being a member of a committee. However, we think it is important that you tell us how your skills and experience will help you to:

  • understand the importance of making it easier to do health and social care research that people can trust
  • work with a team of people, listening to others, respecting differing views and reaching a compromise to make a recommendation
  • bring enthusiasm for helping shape the experience of members of the HRA community
  • willing to challenge the way that things are done at the HRA
  • champion the diversity, and inclusion of people to build a more inclusive community culture

You will also need to be confident using email, reading documents and attending meetings held online. Please contact us if you would like to discuss any adjustments you may require, you would like to receive the form as a text document, or if you would prefer to send a video or voice recording.

What support will I receive?

A named member of the HRA team will provide you with the information you will need ahead of each meeting, be available to answer your queries or respond to any concerns and can arrange to provide documents in different formats.

If you are appointed, we will invite you to share information, in confidence, about any access and support needs and any reasonable adjustments you require.

Meetings will be conducted via Zoom, and captions will be enabled. Meetings over an hour in length will have scheduled breaks.

We can also provide IT support and equipment if you need it.

We are committed to offering payment to members of the public who we involve in our work, where they are not already contracted or paid by another organisation for their time with us. In line with this, if you are a member of the public who is part of our public involvement network, we will offer you a payment for your time on Community Committee business.

We can offer a payment of £75 per meeting to include preparation and feedback time, and £25 for shorter tasks.

Members of our Research Ethics Committee and Confidentiality Advisory Group are volunteers and choosing to join the Community Committee is part of this volunteer role and we currently do not offer these members a payment.

However, this is one of the things that we would like to ask the Community Committee to help us work on when it is up and running. Helping us to define what activities constitute public involvement and would attract a payment would mean that we can ensure a consistent approach for everyone involved in our work.

How will committee members be selected?

If you are interested, we would like you to send us an expression of interest by midnight on Monday 29 May telling us why you would like to take part by answering questions about your skills and experience. These questions will help us to understand how you meet the criteria mentioned above.

We will anonymise your personal details before a selection panel, chaired by Becky Purvis, Director of Policy and Partnerships, and including members of the HRA Community, Board and staff, read your expression of interest. We will develop a short-list of people who can bring the skills and experience we have outlined above and invite these people to an online interview.

How do I submit an expression of interest to be considered?  

If you would like to express your interest in joining the committee, please complete your expression of interest by midnight on Monday 29 May 2023. You can do this in one of three ways:

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