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BACKGROUND: While there has been a long recognition of the importance of race equality in health and care research, there is a lack of sustained action among research funding and research performing organisations to address racial equality in public involvement. This paper describes how the UK's National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) convened a Race Equality Public Action Group (REPAG), which co-developed with public contributors and stakeholders a Race Equality Framework - a tool for addressing racial equality in public involvement. METHODS: The REPAG, through meetings and discussions, defined the focus of the Framework, and developed an initial draft of the Framework. Public contributors identified the need for broader consultation with other public members. Three community consultation events with a total of 59 members of Black African-, Asian- and Caribbean-heritage communities were held to seek their views on health and care research generally and on the draft Framework specifically. The draft Framework was modified and piloted among 16 organisations delivering health and care research. Following feedback from the pilot, the Framework was modified and prepared for publication. RESULTS: The Framework is designed as a self-assessment tool comprised of 50 questions pertaining to five domains of organisational activity: 1) individual responsibility, 2) leadership, 3) public partnerships, 4) recruitment, and 5) systems and processes. The questions were co-designed with REPAG public members and provide key concepts and elements of good practice that organisations should consider and address on their path to achieving racial competence. The accompanying materials provide implementation guidance with 20 detailed steps, case studies of actions taken in seven pilot organisations, and links to additional resources. The pilot demonstrated the feasibility of conducting a meaningful self-assessment over a period of three months and the usefulness of the results for developing longer-term action plans. CONCLUSION: The Framework represents the first self-assessment tool for addressing racial equality in public involvement. Co-design with REPAG public members enhanced its authenticity and practicality. Organisations in the field of health and care research and any other organisations that use partnerships with the public are encouraged to adopt the Framework.

Original publication




Journal article


Res Involv Engagem

Publication Date





Antiracism, Diversity, Health research, Inclusion, Inequality, NIHR, Public engagement, Public involvement, Race equality