National Institute for Health and Care Excellence – Public Health Advisory Committees
Professor Jennifer Roberts of the Department of Economics is a core member of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Public Health Advisory Committees.
Public Health Advisory Committees (PHAC) are the standing committees responsible for the development of NICE public health guidance. The PHAC reviews evidence and uses this to make recommendations on local interventions that can help prevent disease or improve health. PHAC members are drawn from the NHS, local government, healthcare professions, academia and the wider public health community.
Guidance topics are allocated following referral from the Department of Health. The PHAC considers the evidence and makes recommendations for people working in the NHS, local government and in the wider public, private and voluntary sectors.
The guidance may focus on a particular topic (such as smoking), a particular population (such as schoolchildren) or a particular setting (such as the workplace). For example, recent NICE Public Health Guidance on walking and cycling as a form of physical activity made 10 key recommendations based on their assessment of existing evidence. The recommendations included stating that Local Authorities should ensure that walking and cycling programmes form a core part of local transport investment planning; and also that head teachers and school governors should develop and implement school travel plans that encourage children to walk or cycle all or part of the way to school.
Jenny has recently worked on public health guidance for:
- behaviour change in relation to alcohol, diet, physical activity, sex and smoking;
- walking and cycling as a form of physical activity;
Her PHAC is currently considering evidence on:
NICE was originally set up in 1999 as the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, a special health authority, to reduce variation in the availability and quality of NHS treatments and care. In 2005, after merging with the Health Development Agency, they began developing public health guidance to help prevent ill health and promote healthier lifestyles and their name changed to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.
In April 2013 NICE was established in primary legislation, becoming a Non Departmental Public Body (NDPB) and at this time we took on responsibility for developing guidance and quality standards in social care, and the name was changed to reflect these new responsibilities.
As an NDPB, NICE is accountable to its sponsor department, the Department of Health, but operationally NICE is independent of government. NICE guidance and other recommendations are made by independent committees, such as the PHAC.