NHS Test and Trace public advisory group

About the Public Advisory Group

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and NHS Test and Trace have created a Public Advisory Group.

This Public Advisory Group has brought together people from different backgrounds to hear from experts, discuss issues and make recommendations to inform new policies to help England come out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

NHS Test and Trace has used the work of the Public Advisory Group, along with other activities, to ensure that the voices of the public, those who are seldom heard, and those most at risk from COVID-19, feed in to making new policies. 

Ipsos MORI, Imperial College Health Partners and Involve worked together to organise and run the group on behalf of DHSC and NHS Test and Trace.


The role of the Public Advisory Group

The group considered how can we live and work together safely given the current and any future viruses. Experts and specialists presented information about the issues to the group.

The group then discussed the issues at length to form recommendations. DHSC and NHS Test and Trace have used these recommendations to develop new policies to help the country live and work together safely and move forward together out of these challenging times.

Information about the issues the group discussed along with their recommendations have now been published in a report on Gov.UK in May 2022. 

How the Public Advisory Group was selected

NHS Test and Trace wrote out to 20,000 households from across England that were randomly selected from Royal Mail’s address database. The organisers then randomly selected 100 people from those who responded to the letter. This random selection was weighted to ensure a mix of experience and backgrounds to represent the entire country. This includes considering age, gender and ethnicity. All participants were aged 16 or over.

The following people were not eligible to take part:

• elected representatives
• paid journalists
• if the individual has a conflict of interest
• if the individual does not live in a household that received a letter

The Public Advisory Group met online over five three-hour virtual workshops in June 2021. 

Protecting the privacy of the group

Only the organisers and the other members will know the identity of the group. Anything said at the meetings will stay anonymous and members have not been named in the report.

How personal data is used

Sortition Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation, selected the group members – keeping personal data and responses confidential, and only using these details to randomly select the members. These details were then passed securely to Ipsos MORI.  

Ipsos MORI, a specialist research agency, used this personal data to contact members about meetings and events. Ipsos MORI has presented contributions at these events as anonymous findings and recommendations from the Public Advisory Group.

Imperial College Health Partners, Involve, the DHSC and NHS Test and Trace did not and will not have access to personal data. 

Read the report online

Ipsos MORI, ICHP and Involve have produced a report of the views and recommendations of the Public Advisory Group to the DHSC and NHS Test and Trace. Their recommendations will continue to be used to inform critical future policy decisions.

The report was published at Gov.UK on 6 May 2022. 

Read the report here.