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Community Insight Group

Last updated on 5 Jul 2022

Welcome to our HRA Community Insight Group webpage where you can find out more about the group, its members, and the work they do.

Around 1,000 dedicated and committed people volunteer their time to support the HRA's work. They make up our Research Ethics Committees, the Confidentiality Advisory Group, and are part of our patient and public involvement network. Their efforts support health and social care research, and make an invaluable contribution, both to our work and to research participants. Read about the demographic of our Community members.

The Community Insight Group has been created to help us better support and value those who volunteer and work with us to improve their experiences as part of the HRA community. The group will meet regularly to share feedback and discuss ideas to improve the experience of working with us, ensure that our Community reflects the population that it serves, and is always recognised for its crucial contribution to health and social care research.

The group is made up of Research Ethics Committee (REC), Confidentiality Advisory Group (CAG), and Public Involvement Network (PIN) members. We asked them to tell us why they are part of the group, and what they hope the group will achieve:

Rita Patel

In working with this group, I will not only share my views, but I will listen to the views of other members of the group including the wider HRA Community and together we will influence the future for all our members.

Rita Patel, REC
Clare Sanderson

I believe that bringing a group of all the HRA volunteers together will be beneficial to the groups themselves as well as to the HRA.

Clare Sanderson, CAG

What is the group doing?

In March 2021 we carried out a survey to better understand the experiences of REC, CAG and PIN members. They told us that:

  • we need to do more to recruit and retain members
  • they do not feel part of the HRA
  • they are not aware of work outside of what they do
  • they do not reflect the UK’s adult population, especially around ethnicity and age.

We have been working with the Community Insight Group to address these issues, developing an action plan to guide our work – see below. The group meets every two months to help take forward the plan, providing updates, assessing how we are doing, and discussing new issues that are important for our Community.

In March 2022, the Community Insight Group helped us to develop a short survey to check in with the HRA Community to see if things have changed over the past year, and continue informing our work to improve the Community’s experiences. We’ll share the full results with you soon.

If you would like to know more about the group, are interested in joining, or would like to share your thoughts and ideas about the upcoming meeting topics, or anything else, please email

Monday 18 July Next steps for the HRA Community Insight Group
Monday 12 September Support: Ensuring that your role is achievable within the time you commit to us
Monday 14 November Progress review

Action plan

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Streamline our communications with you.

Ensure that through them we welcome, value and support you, and recognise your contribution.


Establish ways for you to tell us what you think and ensure that this informs what we do.


Support you to meet, share and engage with each other.

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Provide accessible information about the opportunities and benefits of working with us, tailoring this to diverse audiences.


Regularly ask you about your experiences to ensure that your role is achievable within the time you commit to us.


Support everyone to engage with and contribute to our work without being disadvantaged.

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Publicly acknowledge what we have achieved, and your role in it.


Personally thank you and recognise your contribution.


Proactively seek your views to inform all of our work.

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