The Shared Commitment to Public Involvement in Health and Social Care Research is administered by the Health Research Authority (HRA) on behalf of all the partner organisations. It is supported by a delivery group of public involvement leads and other staff members from the HRA and NIHR and is co-chaired by public contributors.

Becoming a partner to the Shared Commitment is a really simple process. There is no charge to become a partner. To start the process, please contact the HRA public involvement team

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How to become a partner

The minimum requirements are that your organisation - or organisations that you support - must be involved in health and social care research.

This includes conducting, funding or regulating health and social care research, or supporting your members who conduct, fund, support or regulate health and social care research.

What you need

To become a partner, you need:

  • an executive-level ‘sponsor’; someone at the top of the organisation who has the authority to commit the organisation to be part of the initiative and champion public involvement at that level. Most so far are chief executives or equivalents, but all are executive or non-executive members of each organisation’s decision-making board
  • a public involvement lead or equivalent to work with the steering group and take responsibility for driving forward the organisation’s work as part of the partnership
  • one, or more, public contributors (where appropriate for organisations who work with the public) to be part of the very active and influential public involvement group. This group has been central to the shaping of the common wording of the commitment.  They will hold the partner organisations to account to deliver our promises both collectively and individually with the host organisations they each ‘represent’ or are associated with for this initiative

For the public contributors, we expect that all host organisations will provide support, payment for time spent both at meetings and working for the group between meetings, and to provide any resources required to enable full participation.

Before being accepted as a partner, your organisation needs to have:

  • a page on your website which will have the Shared Commitment statement and a statement of the actions your organisation is taking to support the overall commitment
  • demonstrated that you are interested in working with a growing partnership of organisations to drive forward embedding public involvement in health and social care research

Some of this will be in your own specific areas of work but other activities will be done collaboratively where two or more organisations have overlapping interests or responsibilities.

Examples can be seen in the list of partner organisations.

Does our organisation need to be based in the UK?

Our statement does not state that the partners need to be based in the UK. It simply states that ‘excellent public involvement is inclusive, values all contributions, ensures people have a meaningful say in what happens and influences outcomes, as set out in the UK Standards for Public Involvement.’

We have not limited ourselves to UK partners. Much health and social care research is international, and we welcome members from across the world who share and uphold our values. Where legislative or practical issues conflict with UK practice, Associate Partnership may be agreed.


Please contact the HRA public involvement team and they will be in touch to organise an introductory meeting.

Once your organisation is ready to join the Shared Commitment, it will be added to the groups presented at the next steering group meeting. These happen every two months. The steering group will review your application and the commitments you propose to make to the partnership. The steering group will contact you shortly after its next meeting.

Once your organisation has been approved as a partner, our communications team will get in touch to coordinate communications announcing that your organisation has joined the partnership.

The benefits of joining the Shared Commitment Partnership

Joining the Shared Commitment to Public Involvement in Health and Social Care Research creates an expectation of ongoing learning and improvement with respect to public involvement. Working together we will support the research community to carry out excellent public involvement. We will provide or share guidance, policies, systems, and incentives. We will:

  • listen to and learn from the people and communities we involve and apply and share that learning
  • build and share the evidence of how to involve the public and the impact this has
  • support improvements in equality, diversity, and inclusion in public involvement
  • promote the UK Standards for Public Involvement

We will embed this commitment into the decision-making processes of our organisations.

Expectations of our partners

Every year we expect all of our partners to report publicly on what they have done against their own individual statements or the Shared Commitment statement.  We ask you to write up and publish these reports in partnership with your public contributors, and then share the links to your reports with the other members via the HRA. The reports can be blogs, video recordings or any other format that you chose, written in the style of your organisation. These annual reports allow us to demonstrate accountability to the research community.

How becoming a partner helps all health and social care research

When you join the Shared Commitment, your organisation will both be actively involving the public, and learning from them, but also preparing to report back what you have done as part of our annual reporting process, and at our twice yearly ‘all partners’ meetings.

Shared Commitment partners will share learning and demonstrate best practice, for example by showcasing something that they are doing or have done differently with respect to public involvement each year. By sharing what we have learned with each other and our wider communities, we will be demonstrating the value of our Shared Commitment.

Back to putting people first - embedding public involvement in health and social care research