Strategy and standards

Plans and standards

Our Public Involvement Strategy

Our mission in the RDS is to promote active and meaningful public involvement in research that we support. We believe that strong public involvement strengthens both the quality and relevance of health research. In April 2016 the RDS Senior Specialty Group approved the following strategic objectives which we have linked to the strategic goals outlined in Going the Extra Mile review:

  • Promote effective ways of encouraging and supporting RDS clients to work with members of the public in research design choices so that public involvement is embedded throughout the project, eg. Relevance of topic; Selection of suitable outcome measures; Feasibility; Development of study materials; Dissemination of results.
    [Links to the GtEM strategic goal that by 2025 the experience of patients, service users and carers is a fundamental and valued source of knowledge].
  • Support an increasingly diverse and empowered PI community and provide them with appropriate support (eg. training) and encouragement to participate as valued partners in RDS infrastructure and supporting RDS clients. RDS clients will also be encouraged to engage with a diverse community on their projects.
    [Links to GtEM Recommendation 10 – Community and Recommendation 6 – Co-production].
  • Continually review existing PI structures and networks in place regionally to increase the opportunities for patients and the public to support the aims of the RDS in promoting high quality and relevant applied health research. This may include co-ordinating mechanisms to provide public feedback on research proposals, outreach events to engage the public etc.[Links to GtEM Recommendation 1 – Communication and Information]
  • Work with INVOLVE and members of the public to inform, promote and encourage INVOLVE’s Values and Principles Framework regionally.
    [Links to GtEM Recommendation 2 – Culture]
  • Ensure that through its partnership with INVOLVE, the RDS will act as a communication link. INVOLVE will work alongside the RDS to establish links with national and regional fora to ensure that national PI work is widely disseminated and that regional activity is routinely reported to INVOLVE.
    [Links to the RDS role in the INVOLVE partnership model]
  • Provide leadership or support to promote local PI partnerships, eg. Through establishing and/or taking part in promoting and supporting regional PI communities to develop PI locally in a way that is aligned with NIHR’s goals.
    [Links to the RDS role in the INVOLVE partnership model and to GtEM strategic goal that public involvement is locally driven and relevant whilst strategically consistent with the NIHR’s goals and to GtEM Recommendation 7 – Connectivity]
  • Provide support and development to RDS PI staff to ensure they can work effectively to promote strong public involvement in research applications.
    [Links to GtEM Recommendation 4 – Continuous improvement]
  • Continue to demonstrate impact of PI in the work of the RDS by setting milestones and measuring success along the three indices identified in the GtEM report. These are reach, relevance and refinement and the RDS PI Community will need to work out how to operationalise these in a way that is meaningful to the RDS.
    [Links to GtEM Recommendation 5 – Continuous improvement]
    Department of Health. Going the extra mile: Improving the nation’s health and wellbeing through public involvement in research. 2015.

Our regional RDS work plan

Public Involvement Strategy Work Plan RDS EoE

Our regional public involvement strategic work plan 2019-2021 was jointly produced with our public partners, members of our Management Board, local public involvement leads, Director and regional Public involvement Lead. The plan was approved by the Management Board on 23rd May, 2019. The work-plan sets out how we plan to deliver the national RDS strategic objectives (above) and is underpinned by the Going the Extra Mile recommendations, RDS PIC Public Involvement Work plan and NIHR Public Involvement Standards (below). This work-plan is due for review in March 2021.

National Standards for Public Involvement

Over the last eighteen months a UK-wide partnership, have been developing a set of standards and indicators for public involvement in research. The aim of the standards is to improve the quality and consistency of public involvement in research.

The Standards for Public Involvement (PI) in Research – Summary


We offer public involvement opportunities that are accessible and that reach people and groups according to research needs.


We work together in a way that values all contributions, and that builds and sustains mutually respectful and productive relationships.


We offer and promote support and learning that builds confidence and skills for public involvement in research.


We use plain language for timely, two way and targeted communications, as part of involvement plans and activities.

Standard 5: IMPACT

To drive improvement, we capture and share the difference that public involvement makes to research.

Standard 6: GOVERNANCE

We involve the public in our governance and leadership so that our decisions promote and protect the public interest.