Most public reviewers will require some support, especially if they are new to the task. This might include:
Practical support – Ensure people can access the applications or reports you are asking them to review – this might mean offering to send paper copies or to cover the costs of printing documents at home. Ensure they are paid promptly for their time (see INVOLVE payment for involvement guidance).
Please note that benefits guidance and tax legislation been subject to considerable change/reinterpretation since 2019. Any INVOLVE documents referring to the payment of involvement fees may now be out of date and are pending a review during 2020. INVOLVE’s guidance should not be substituted for professional advice, and INVOLVE accepts no liability for decisions or actions taken as a result of its guidance. You are always recommended to take your own tax, finance or legal advice.
On-the-job support – A glossary of research terms and acronyms, that are common to the research areas they are being asked to review, can be helpful. For new reviewers, it can also be helpful to talk through a draft review before they submit a final version, or to share other public reviews with them once the review process is complete. Some public reviewers find it helpful to know from the outset what will happen to their review, and to be reassured that they will be told about the outcome of the application they have reviewed.
Personal development – Review people’s progress and performance to provide positive feedback and encouragement and / or to see if they need any additional pointers to further develop their skills.
Emotional / psychological support – Occasionally public reviewers may find reading research applications or reports distressing. It’s therefore important to be clear about who reviewers can talk to if they wish to discuss this, and to stress that they can withdraw from the process at any time if they wish.
Not all of these types of support are necessary or appropriate for every individual nor for every kind of review. You will need to adapt the support you provide to the needs of the people you are working with and the demands of the review process.
Useful practical approaches include: