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The NICE way: lessons for social policy and practice from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence

This report looks at what we can learn from NICE for other areas of social policy.

This report looks at the key lessons we can learn from Nice for other areas of social policy.

Key findings

Lesson 1: Use a mix of research methods, not just RCTs. 
Lesson 2: Ask the public. Research evidence is not enough. NICE uses bodies like Citizen Councils to help glean the views of the wider world.
Lesson 3: Work directly with frontline professionals. 
Lesson 4: Create ‘moral authority’ to influence, not the threat of law. 
Lesson 5: Be arms-length from Government.

What can be learned from NICE that might work for other institutions? There is a lot of misunderstanding about their approach outside of health expert circles. This paper aims to bust some of those myths. We hope that clearly articulating the NICE model will inspire others to follow the approach. 

The key recommendation is for more people to engage with wider social values and interests – getting service users, providers and others involved is vital to success.


Jonathan Breckon

Jonathan Breckon

Jonathan Breckon

Director, Alliance for Useful Evidence

Jonathan was the Director of the Alliance for Useful Evidence from 2012 to 2021.

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Francis Ruiz

Francis is Senior Adviser at NICE International.