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PPI/E Strategy
2021-2024 full report

Below you will find the full report of the Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement (PPI/E) Strategy 2021-2024.

NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Wessex

Authored by Caroline Barker (Lead for PPI/E).

Supported by our Public Champions and Katherine Baker (PPI Officer).

Document overview:

  • Background information

  • Our vision

  • Our aims

  • Programme of activities

  • Resources, partners and collaborators

  • Reporting and monitoring

The purpose of this strategy

Patients and the public are at the heart of our vision to improve the health and well-being of people across Wessex[1]. We need and value the voices of the communities our research serves.

The knowledge, experiences and support of patients and the public are essential to ensure that our research goals and solutions are relevant, prevent waste, and bring the greatest possible benefits to society.

This document outlines our strategy for Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement (termed PPI/E) in the work of ARC Wessex[2].


We recognise there are different definitions to describe involvement and engagement activities within health and social care. For the purposes of this document we will adopt the following definitions:

Patient and public involvement: research being carried out ‘with’ or ‘by’ members of the public rather than ‘to’, ‘about’ or ‘for’ them. (NIHR INVOLVE[3] 2017).

Engagement: where information and knowledge about research is provided and shared.

PPI/E: an abbreviation/acronym. Used to describe patient and public involvement or engagement work and projects, or activities that connect or encompass both.

Public: in this strategy we use the term ‘public’ to describe people affected by our research who do not have a professional role in health and social care services. This may include patients, service users, survivors, carers, family members or members of the general population.

We also use the acronym WISeRD, which stands for Wessex Inclusion in Service Research and Design Group. This is our strategic PPI/E group. It is composed of PPI Champions (public), the PPI/E team and staff links for each research theme.

As you read this document, you may come across other terms, abbreviations and acronyms that are unfamiliar to you. We have provided brief descriptions in the footnotes. There is also a glossary of terms at the end of the document.

Context and opportunities

ARC Wessex launched in October 2019. As part of our application to become an ARC, we had to develop an outline PPI/E strategy. CLAHRC[4] Wessex (preceded ARC Wessex) shared our commitment to PPI/E and the work done by the CLAHRC laid good foundations for ARC Wessex to build on and progress. We are proud of the work we have done to embed PPI/E in our projects and programmes over the first 18 months.

This strategy, developed in wide consultation with our partners and public communities, builds on the outline PPI/E strategy from our application. It covers activities from April 2021-Oct 2024.

Our locality, Wessex, has strengths in involvement and engagement. We have the Wessex Public Involvement Network (PIN) that ARC Wessex plays a leading role in. This is a network of staff and public working with NIHR[5] and committed to improving public involvement in research. We do this by sharing our knowledge, supporting and developing each other. We also work together on projects that would not be possible if we did not share the workload between us. These include developing PPI/E training and trialling approaches to improve diversity and inclusion in PPI/E.

Our partners in NHS providers[6], charities and higher education institutions (e.g. Universities) have their own expertise and strengths. We are willing and committed to working together on areas of shared priority.

Our Vision

We aim to deliver high quality public involvement and engagement for health and social care. Our activities will meet the values and principles of good public involvement as outlined in the UK Standards for Public Involvement[7].

Our activities will occur across, and add value to, each aspect of Wessex ARC:

  • At project-specific level (e.g. an ARC-funded or ARC-supported research project).

  • Across each of our four research themes[8] and the wider ARC programme.

  • With our partners and collaborators organisations.

Our overarching aims

Aligned to the UK Standards for Public Involvement, are aims are to:

  1. Listen to voices relevant to our research priorities that reflect the diversity of our local population – ensuring the underserved[9] have a voice (UK Standard Inclusive Opportunities).

  2. Build a culture that respects different perspectives, values contributions and supports mutually respectful and productive relationships (UK Standard Working Together).

  3. Provide health research communities of Wessex (including public) adequate PPI/E training, support and learning opportunities at the right time for their project/programme and/or their own development needs (UK Standard Support and Learning).

  4. Involve the public at strategic and operational levels, ensuring best practice and supporting research transparency (UK Standard Governance).

  5. Use innovative approaches and good communication to expand the reach of our activities, maximising impact by stimulating knowledge-of, and interest-in, our research (UK Standard Communications).

  6. Capture, monitor and share learnings to feedback to those involved, avoid duplication, contribute to the evidence base and build our academic PPI/E (UK Standard Impact).

We will build on our local strengths and focus on areas where we believe we can have the greatest impact.

Programme of activities

We have developed objectives and activities to support us to meet our aims.

In many circumstances, activities will support us to meet more than one aim. We have listed them under the most relevant aim.

For each activity, we have identified our success criteria and how we will measure and monitor success.  Where a timescale is not mentioned, these activities are expected be ongoing throughout the ARC award.


Aim 1: Listen to voices relevant to our research priorities that reflect the diversity of our local population – ensuring the underserved have a voice (UK Standard Inclusive Opportunities).

[ii] Public involvement activities describe activities where research is carried out ‘with’ or ‘by’ members of the public rather than ‘to’, ‘about’ or ‘for’ them.

[iii] Engagement activities describe activities where information and knowledge about research is provided to and shared with the public.

[iv] Underserved is the term we have chosen to use to describe people who are less well included in research. It is important to recognise that underserved groups are context-specific. There is no single, simple definition to describe all underserved groups.


Want to know more? You can read our full strategy - or download a version as a file.


Have questions or comments? Email  

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