CLAHRC Oxford understands that researchers looking to involve the public in their research need a range of support and have developed a portfolio which staff can dip into at any time, gaining the skills and confidence they need as they go along.
Information about the logistics and some of the basic principles are available in the Guide for Researchers working with PPI Contributors. This document was developed jointly with researchers and PPI Contributors and is available online. https://www.clahrc-oxford.nihr.ac.uk/files/get-involved/guide-for-researchers-in-working-with-ppi-contributors-17.pdf We also developed a payment policy in collaboration with partner agencies working in the Thames Valley with the aim of reducing the level of inconsistency across organisations.
Raising the standard has always been part of CLAHRC Oxford intention in relation to PPI, but this has been formalised since the NIHR PPI Standards were published into a jointly developed action plan. https://www.clahrc-oxford.nihr.ac.uk/public-involvement/other-public-involvement-and-engagement-resources-1. To support this we have also encouraged research staff to understand good practice, sharing with them case studies from colleagues, https://www.clahrc-oxford.nihr.ac.uk/patient-and-public-involvement-case-studies and encouraging them to think outside the box with a range of resources on inventive involvement; https://www.clahrc-oxford.nihr.ac.uk/for-researchers/inventive-involvement. Research staff have always had access to the PPI Coordinator for individual advice about their current project, and there has been an ongoing sequence of seminars provided for their learning & development, on subjects ranging from ‘How to do PPI before you have funding’ to ‘Running meetings with public contributors’ and ‘Working with public co-applicants’.
Help with recruitment is always available in terms of encouragement to go out and meet with patients with your condition of study in their own community setting. It is also possible to access willing recruits through the CLAHRC’s list of 170 people who have signed up online. The PPI Coordinator constantly strives to add to this number, including from less well represented groups.
Supporting the involved public is essential to CLAHRC Oxford. These volunteers are given the welcome pack on recruitment and if local, invited to a regular induction meeting with new staff too. They are then supported through ongoing contact – specifically through a monthly ebulletin Involvement Matters which alerts them to opportunities to get involved and the termly PPI Pulse, which allows for fuller reflection on their role and its impact on research. As well as regular invites to learning & development opportunities the volunteers are also welcome to attend some research active events such as the CLAHRC Symposium, public lectures and the annual PPI Showcase event.