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Reward and recognition for public contributors - a guide on payment for reviewers


Published: 22 July 2019

Version: 1.1 - 08/10/2019

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This guide for public contributors describes the NIHR Central Commissioning Facility (CCF) and NIHR Evaluation Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre (NETSCC) policy on payments to members of the public. It is based on guidance agreed with the Department of Health and Social Care: ‘NIHR Programmes: Payment and reimbursement rates for public involvement (2009)

As a public contributor you will be offered a payment when we ask you to get involved in reviewing a research funding application or research commissioning brief. These are ‘honorarium’ payments. They are a form of reward and recognition offered for the contribution that you make to our work. This does not mean that you have a contract of employment with NIHR, CCF, NETSCC or the research programmes that we manage.

You are not obliged to accept a fee. If you prefer not to claim, please tell the member of CCF or NETSCC staff who has asked you to get involved.

Public contributors who receive state benefits

If you are receiving state benefits, any payment may affect your benefit claim. For free, confidential advice, you can contact the Benefits Advice Service for involvement.

In relation to this and other matters, you may also find it useful to refer to our payment guidance for members of the public considering involvement in research.

CCF and NETSCC’s Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) team are not able to offer expert advice but can support you in the process of getting advice.

Payments for public sector workers

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 (Source: Benefits Of Working In The Public Sector).

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 or CCF.

If this applies to you, you will be asked to confirm this before payment is made.

Rates of payment

There are three payment rates offered for the activity of reviewing. They reflect differences in the volume and nature of reviews. Please note that these rates do not apply to the process of reviewing funding applications as part of funding or prioritisation committee meetings.

  1. £50 - For completing reviews of documents (including reference and appendices) of no more than 50 pages in total per funding round or competition*.
  2. £125 - For completing reviews of documents (including reference and appendices) of between 51 and 200 pages in total per funding round or competition.
  3. £200 - For completing reviews of documents (including reference and appendices) of over 200 pages in total per funding round or competition.

* One round / competition refers to the activity undertaken for one funding call / advertisement this may include reviewing more than one application or commissioning brief.

Payment processes

The way in which you will be asked to claim your payment will be different for CCF and NETSCC. We will advise you of this when you are invited to undertake a review.