This includes choosing what to study, through to how we plan the studies, carry out the research and understand our findings. We also need to let people know what we have found and help research findings to improve health and care services.
Our Implementation and Involvement team worked with a range of people to develop an Involvement Strategy (March 2021) which sets out our approach to public involvement.
Each year we hold an Active Involvement in Research event to bring together patients, service users, carers, local people and researchers to discuss involvement at ARC South London, including the challenges we face and practical solutions to help deliver meaningful research.
Strategy and structures for supporting involvement at ARC South London
The ARC director, on behalf of the ARC Executive and ARC Board (the key governance and oversight bodies of the ARC), has overall responsibility for putting the Involvement Strategy into practice. Theme leads are also responsible for effective involvement in each research theme.
Support structures, including the implementation and involvement team, and patient, service user and carer contributors and champions within the research themes, will help make sure there is effective involvement and, where appropriate, co-production across all the ARC’s research activities. Patient, service user and carer and community members from a range of groups are part of the ARC Executive and Board, reflecting the importance of involvement in ARC governance and everyday practice.
As part of our strategy, there will be three key structures to support involvement in the ARC:
- An Involvement Advisory Group – a small group who advise the ARC Executive and Board on best practice in ARC-wide involvement activities, including capacity building, and evaluation. Members will also help themes to explore how involvement might be strengthened, but will not advise on individual research studies (see ARC South London Public Research Panel below).
- ARC South London Public Research Panel – to provide expert, diverse input and advice, and to support co-production for individual research studies from start to finish, and to propose new ideas for research. This panel was formed as the Covid-19 Public Research Panel in 2020 to support the ARC with Covid-related research but has now been established as a panel for all research at ARC South London.
- An Involvement Learning Network open to all ARC researchers, public contributors and collaborators with the ARC – this provides an inclusive space to share experiences of involvement, learning, good practice, engagement, challenges and suggestions. It will also join up and strengthen relationships with other involvement activities in south London, for example those in university departments and the NIHR Biomedical Research Centres.
These three structures will interconnect with each other, and with the ARC’s Equality Diversity and Inclusion working group, and will be continually evaluated. They will also work closely with the ARC Executive and Board public members.
Through discussions with researchers I’ve also inspired ideas – a conversation can trigger something in their mind that can develop into a new research idea or a new way of doing things