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Payments to Public Contributors



Principles of payment 

NETSCC has a clear policy on payments that can be made to public contributors who work with us. As a public contributor, you will be offered a payment when we offer you the opportunity to undertake a specific task or to attend meetings.

All payments offered for tasks or meetings are honorarium payments. The purpose of offering honorarium payments is to recognise the contribution that patients and members of the public make to health and social care research.

The payments are not based on an hourly rate and do not mean that you have a contract of employment with NETSCC or NETS programmes. We will make it clear to you what the payment will be at the time you are offered a task or invited to attend a meeting (e.g. a funding advisory committee).

Who is eligible for payment? 

If you do not receive a public sector salary, you will always be eligible to receive these honorarium payments. If you do work in the public sector, you may still be entitled to these honorarium payments provided that your paid employment is totally unrelated to the activity being asked of you by NETSCC.

If this applies to you, you will be asked to confirm that this is how you will get the task done before payment is made. 

Arrangements for payment

When you have completed your task, we will ask you to fill in and return a claim form for your honorarium and any expenses (travel costs etc.) which will then be sent to our finance department. Payments will take approximately 4-6 weeks to be processed. Please note payments will be received from the University of Southampton who host NETSCC.

You are not obliged to accept the honorarium payment that is offered to you. If you prefer not to receive it, just tell the member of staff who has asked you to undertake the task. Unfortunately, we cannot donate to a charity or organisation on your behalf. Payments are made to the individual who can then chose to donate if they wish.

Tax and National Insurance 

Please note it is our duty to point out that you may need to inform HM Revenue and Customs of income you receive as it may have implications for your tax and National Insurance contribution liability. NETSCC will never deduct tax or NI contributions from your honorarium payments.

 "Any organisation run by the government and funded by tax-payers money can be classified as public sector. This includes local and national councils, NHS hospitals and clinics, emergency services, schools, and much more. The various departments of local government, for example, includes a huge variety of jobs. Social services requires everything from administrators to counsellors, and from psychologists to statisticians. Councils and government-backed organisations often require marketing specialists, scientific consultants and political researchers."

Find out more about the benefits of working in the public sector.

Public contributors who receive benefits 

If you are receiving any benefits, there may be implications for you if you accept any honorarium payments from NETSCC. If you would like further help regarding this please contact INVOLVE who can direct you to an advice service.

Rates of payment 

Rates are based on payment and reimbursement rates agreed by Department of Health and Social Care. Rates will be subject to periodic review and this policy will be updated accordingly.

The categories of payment to be applied within NETSCC are:

 Involvement in reviews of research applications or briefs


 Rate Type of review 
 £50.00  For reviewing up to 50 pages (e.g. research briefs, stage 1 proposals) in one round/cycle *.
 £125.00 For reviewing 51-200 pages. (e.g. stage 2 proposals) in one round/cycle.*
 £200.00  For reviewing more than 200 pages (e.g. large reports or more than one stage 2 proposal) in one round/cycle.*
  * One round / cycle refers to the activity undertaken for one funding call / advertisement   this may include reviewing more than one application.


Involvement in advisory committees


 Rate  Type of meeting
 £150.00  The usual rate for attending an advisory committee or other formally constituted meeting (e.g. panels, PPI Reference Group). This includes preparation and attendance for one day. This daily rate would be paid for each day of a two day meeting.
 £225.00  For attendance at meetings with considerable additional preparation and responsibility (usually funding committee meetings). This includes preparation and attendance for one day. This daily rate would be paid for each day of a two day meeting.
 £300.00  For attendance at meetings with extensive additional preparation for the meeting (e.g. a funding committee with an exceptionally large number of proposals). This includes preparation and attendance for one day. This daily rate would be paid for each day of a two day meeting.
 £450.00  For attendance at and preparation for meetings involving assessment of multi-stage, complex grant applications. This includes preparation and attendance for one day. This daily rate would be paid for each day of a two day meeting.


Involvement in other tasks


 Rate  Type of activity
 £25.00  For small pieces of activity that require little preparation, e.g. short teleconferences, reviewing short documents for NETSCC that equate to approximately 1 hours’ activity.
 £50.00  For slightly larger pieces of activity that require some preparation, e.g. teleconferences, reviewing documents for NETSCC that equate to approximately 2 hours’ activity.
 £75.00  For a meeting or teleconference which involves preparation and/or equates to approximately half a day’s activity.
 £150.00  For all-day meetings that do not have a formal constitution or terms of reference (e.g. NETSCC training and development activities, focus groups, workshops).

If the requirements of the task we have asked you to undertake are reduced because of changes at the NETSCC end, we will honour the amount of honorarium payment we originally offered you. If the requirements of the task are greater than expected at the time you were offered the task, the payment you receive will be increased as appropriate. Any changes of this type will be confirmed to you by email.


If you attend a meeting, all your standard class travel costs for the trip will be covered by NETSCC. This is in addition to the honorarium payment for attending the meeting. We will offer you the option to have your train tickets booked in advance and paid for by NETSCC. The tickets are then sent to you by post or email. If you have a network rail card, a disabled person’s railcard or a senior citizen’s railcard, please let us know, as the discount can be applied to your ticket. 

If you choose to book your own train tickets, you may use your discretion to get the best value for money, e.g. booking non-refundable fares or taking first class ticket options when these cost no more than the standard fare. Keep your receipts for train tickets you book yourself, as these must be attached to your claim form. 

If you choose to drive to a meeting, you may claim reimbursement at the rate per mile plus any parking charges you incur. You will be asked to declare the mileage on your claim form and to attach parking ticket receipts.

You may use taxis if no alternative public transport is available or if due to your disability or ill-health public transport would not be feasible. Claims for taxi or bus fares must be backed up with receipts.


If you need overnight accommodation before a meeting or between two nights of a two-day meeting, we will book this for you. Accommodation before a meeting will be provided if you would otherwise have to make an unreasonably early start. You will normally be booked into hotels convenient for the meeting on a bed and breakfast basis or if appropriate dinner, bed and breakfast.


If you attend a meeting organised by the research programmes or the coordinating centre, refreshments are always provided and lunch is provided for all-day meetings. If you need additional refreshments such as on a train journey home, you may claim for costs incurred according to the expenses rates listed on the claim form. It is important to note that NETSCC will not pay for the costs of alcohol.

Other costs 

Printing - If you require hard copies of documents related to the task you are doing for NETSCC, we can in most circumstances arrange to post these to you. If you need to print documents at home, you must first agree this with NETSCC staff and you may then claim for printing at the rate of 5 pence per A4 sheet. 

Telephone - NETSCC staff will call you or offer to call you back if you contact them so that you do not incur phone charges. If we ask you to join a teleconference, we will always provide you with a BT dial-in number that will be free provided you call from a landline, not a mobile phone. 

Postage - If you need to post items to us, you may reclaim this cost on your next expenses claim. We also have a freepost address which can be supplied on request.

Carers in attendance - If in order to attend a meeting for NETSCC you need to be accompanied by a paid or unpaid carer, a personal assistant or a support worker the travel, accommodation and subsistence costs of this person will be met by NETSCC.  Please discuss your needs with us in advance. 

Carer cover - If in order to attend a meeting for NETSCC you need to obtain carer cover for a person you normally care for, over and above the hours that you usually pay for, you may claim a reasonable hourly rate for the time that you need the additional cover. This includes care for children. Please discuss your needs with us in advance.

We are unable to routinely accommodate dependants at the meeting venues / location with care support. In cases where an event specifically requires public contributors who are carers (and those dependents need to specifically be cared for by the public contributor e.g. breast feeding mothers, those providing intimate care to a family member) then we will cover travel and where necessary accommodation and subsistence expenses for the public contributor and those who they are caring for.

Training and development 

If you attend a training or development activity such as a course or conference, an honorarium payment will be made as follows: 

  • For attending a full day of training or event organised by either INVOLVE or NIHR which is considered essential for the involvement activity, a payment rate of £150 may be offered.
  • For attending other relevant training courses or conferences, agreed in advance between NIHR staff and the individual, the following should be covered:
  • Paying the fee for the course/event
  • Paying expenses according to sections 7, 8 and 9 above

Further information

If you have any questions or queries about claiming fees and expenses, please raise them with a member of staff who is your main point of contact at NETSCC and/or with the PPI team.

The NETSCC PPI team 

Tel: 023 8059 9302