A practical guide that provides health and social care researchers with the essential information and tools they need to engage with and involve members of the public in their work, has just been launched by the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Kent, Surrey and Sussex (ARC KSS).

The new Public and Community Involvement and Engagement (PCIE): A How-to Guide  has not only been specifically produced to help researchers understand the value of engaging with and involving members of the public in their work and how best they can do this, but it has been written and co-designed with researchers and members of the public, to make sure that it is accessible and easy to use.

There is a wealth of information already out there about PCIE, but it can seem overwhelming if you don't know where to start or where to look. This guide attempts to bring the best advice together in one place to conveniently gather together ideas, knowledge and information and allows the reader to easily navigate through the chapters, accessing the information they need. Each section gives a short overview of the topic with links which will direct you to further information on different subject areas, should you need it.

The guide covers: Why and When to do PCIE; How to do PCIE, as well as examples of case studies, appendices and other tools and tips, which we hope you will find useful.

Pippa Shaw, PCIE Lead at ARC KSS, said:

"We have a commitment to the public to make sure that all the research we do at ARC KSS is relevant and focused on outcomes that are important to our communities.

Involving members of the public in our work not only leads to an improvement in the quality of work, but it also adds a different perspective to the research, based on people's personal experiences. It is also a fantastic way to link in with specific communities and groups who may be essential to our work.

Although primarily intended to help our own ARC KSS researchers get started with PCIE, this guide has been co-designed in a way that is accessible to any researcher wanting to know more about PCIE and is available to view or download for free from our website."

Karin Webb, Theme Public Advisor, Living Well with Dementia, said:

"The new PCIE guide helps researchers not to have to “fumble in the dark”. It sets out a clear pathway as to how and why, researchers should involve public members.

The guide will help them interact with those who are living/have lived with the experiences and conditions that their research covers. As a former carer for my Mum who had vascular dementia, I liken the PCIE guide for researchers to something I would have appreciated when I was caring for my Mum. A place to go to find all the relevant information in one area (in my case, Attendance Allowance, Carers Allowance, support groups etc.), what to expect, what to do etc.

We're hoping the guide is going to prove a useful resource and that it will encourage researchers to want to involve the public as well. Alongside the guide, knowing that there is a PCIE team available to offer support, either at the end of the ‘phone or via email, should help ease the process for our local researchers."

Jason Grant, ARC KSS Board Public Advisor, said:

"The PCIE guide is a useful tool that will enable the research community to fully understand the work of the ARC and know how to get support for their upcoming research projects. 

The guide was co-produced with staff, researchers, public advisors, and crucially people with lived experience of health conditions. The working group went back and forth to ensure that the content is the most relevant that it can be. "

The Public and Community Involvement and Engagement (PCIE): A How-to Guide, is available on the ARC KSS website here.

For further information about the PCIE guide, or any other PCIE-related query, please contact the team at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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