A West Midlands research group - of which WMAHSN is a member - which seeks to develop and support public involvement in health research is to pilot a new partnership working model, following the publication of a landmark report.
Public involvement (PI) is now a cornerstone of health research, ensuring research is relevant to people’s needs. In the West Midlands, there has been a surge of public involvement in projects and there is concern that it may be uncoordinated, fragmented, often duplicated and where good practice is not shared. There are major changes in the organisations that support and deliver research in the NHS. The time is right to bring these organisations together and align how PI is conducted regionally.
PILAR (Public Involvement and Lay Accountability in Research) is a strategic group of public involvement in research leaders across the West Midlands. It comprises professional and lay members from the National Institute for Health Research’s (NIHR) Research Design Service (RDS), Local Clinical Research Network (LCRN), Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) and WMAHSN. PILAR’s purpose is to share core values of PI in research, promote these across the West Midlands, and harmonise PI activities.
PILAR was selected by INVOLVE to explore examples of existing regional networks that are supporting public involvement in research, to explore the characteristics of successful collaborations and to highlight some of the lessons learnt in developing and maintaining these initiatives. The aim was to inform discussions on how INVOLVE and the NIHR can best support and develop regional partnerships and their strategic co-ordination.
PILAR members took part in interviews and the resulting report is available here.
INVOLVE is now in partnership with the Research Design Service, with INVOLVE's Co-ordinating Centre hosted by the Wessex Institute at the University of Southampton. Following the publication of the report, PILAR has been proposed as one of the pilot sites to roll out the new INVOLVE-RDS regional partnership working model in order to help lay the foundations in establishing ‘good practice’ for regional networks, provide guidance as to what works well and examples that can be learned from and help support other regions.