Good practice for payment and recognition – things to consider

A list of actions that can contribute to effective involvement, and when these actions might be best considered during the involvement process.

Before you start

  • Develop a clear policy on payment, expenses and recognition prior to involvement
  • At the outset, offer clear information for members of the public explaining what they are being offered, how they will be paid, how their involvement will be acknowledged, and what actions they need to take
  • Seek to ensure that members of the public are not financially worse off through being involved in your research
  • Seek advice from your organisation’s or institution’s finance and human resources departments to ensure that your policy can be implemented
  • Do not underestimate your budget for involvement.  Ensure that you have sufficient resources to coordinate and support involvement throughout your research, and that you can cover all necessary costs
  • Offer payment at a level that is consistent with other members of the research team, to acknowledge the value placed on public involvement
  • Consult with members of the public about how they would like to be paid or acknowledged for their contributions.

Throughout the involvement

  • Where possible, be flexible when offering payment and recognition as individual’s circumstances should be taken into account and may change
  • Where possible, cover expenses in advance to avoid members of the public having to wait for reimbursement
  • Reimbursement of expenses should be processed promptly
  • Offer support to members of the public in the form of documentary evidence of any payment of fees or expenses, so that they have information to provide to tax or benefits authorities.

Other forms of recognition

  • Thank members of the public for their contributions, whatever method of payment and recognition you decide upon
  • Keep those actively involved updated about the progress of your research, including feedback on how their contributions have made a difference
  • Offer appropriate learning and development opportunities to support and recognise the value of the contributions made by members of the public, with certificates to record what learning may have been achieved or sessions attended
  • Acknowledge the contribution of members of the public to your research in internal and external reports, publications, posters and presentations
  • Offer information about other opportunities for involvement in research
  • Celebrate successes with those who have contributed to the research.

When you are involving  children and young people there are other things to consider. Look at our top tips and reward and recognition of children and young people documents for more information.