The PSP Steering Group

PSPs need a committed and proactive Steering Group. 

The Steering Group oversees the PSP, organises and completes its activities, and is ultimately accountable for key decisions made about the PSP.  It will be made up of a mix of representatives of patients, carers and clinicians.  These are often members of a charity or professional organisation within the area of the PSP.  Members will bring with them knowledge of the condition, an understanding of the patient, carer and clinician populations and access to networks of patients, carers and clinicians.  It may be unrealistic for members of a Steering Group to be fully representative of all its stakeholders and communities.  Nevertheless, members should be aware of those communities and be able to ensure the process is accessible to those groups. 

It is important that Steering Group members have the time to commit to the work of the PSP both in Steering Group meetings and in between meetings.  The PSP leader will need to facilitate good teamwork amongst the Steering Group so that everyone on the group is fully engaged in the PSP. 

The Steering Group is responsible for several tasks, including publicising the initiative, overseeing the checking and collating of uncertainties, and taking the final priorities to research funders.  There are no set rules about how many people need to be on a PSP Steering Group.  It is often around 12 but may be larger or smaller.  Too large and it becomes difficult to arrange and manage meetings, make decisions and enable meaningful input from everyone; too small and not all of the required people may be represented, and capacity will be limited.  It is usual for a Steering Group to meet each month to keep momentum around the PSP and to maintain their relationship as a team. 

It is important that the PSP is transparent about how Steering Group members were selected and their relevant experience that leads them to be able to represent the views of communities within the health condition or area of the PSP.  It follows therefore that it may not be appropriate for a person to sit on more than one PSP Steering Group unless the PSP is certain that they have full and appropriate experience of that health condition or area.   All Steering Group members will be asked to complete an Interests and Privacy form, as well as sign a Terms of Reference that includes a code of conduct.

What does the Steering Group commit to? 

Members of the Steering Group will need to agree the resources (including time and expertise) that they will contribute to ensure that each stage of the process is completed. These stages include:

  • publicising and taking part in an initial awareness meeting if this happens (and if it happens after the Steering Group has been recruited)
  • taking part in monthly Steering Group meetings 
  • publicising the PSP to potential partners
  • developing the survey form, and other methods where necessary, to gather uncertainties
  • disseminating and publicising the survey as widely as possible
  • overseeing the analysis and interpretation of the survey data 
  • developing a strategy for searching existing research evidence to see whether suggested uncertainties have already been answered
  • managing and helping promote interim priority setting 
  • agreeing the list of priorities to be discussed at the priority setting workshop
  • publicising and helping to recruit to the priority setting workshop
  • supplying the PSP’s working spreadsheet of uncertainties and the prioritised list of all uncertainties from the priority setting workshop to the JLA for publication on the JLA website, with information about the numbers and types of people who responded to surveys and came to the workshop
  • publicising the final top 10 uncertainties to the research community
  • developing research questions from the agreed priorities and working with research funders where necessary to provide any extra information they need.

The PSP will rely on the Steering Group to advise on appropriate language, methods and inclusive engagement strategies to reach a diverse range of patients, carers and clinicians. Steering Group members should be prepared to approach and utilise their established contacts and networks to help promote the work of the PSP.  They will be individuals who are able to listen to, respect and incorporate different perspectives into the process.  They will be committed to the principle of shared priority setting as well as the values of fairness and transparency.  These values underpin the culture of the JLA priority setting process and are embedded in the JLA Adviser’s approach.  You can see more information about what is expected of a Steering Group in the Steering Group Terms of Reference document in the Templates and useful documents section of the JLA website.

Published examples of these include those from the Adult Social Work PSP and the Bleeding Disorders PSP.