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Table 3 Ingredients that facilitate good PPI

From: Learning to work together – lessons from a reflective analysis of a research project on public involvement

Coherence is assisted by:
• All concerned having clear understanding and expectations of PPI
• Having a process of selection for PPI representatives – so that people choose to join projects they are interested in/make sense to them
• Role clarity being made important for all from start – though need some flexibility
• Breadth/depth of PPI representatives understanding that different inputs have different aims
• Avoiding heavy personal bias/advocacy towards particular issues and perspectives.
Buy in (participation) is assisted by:
• Having named co-ordinator(s)
• A moral commitment to PPI
• Keeping PPI roles and expectations under review
• Preparedness and flexibility for changing circumstances
• ‘Don’t be politically correct’being clear about why and how you are working with and involving PPI representatives for specific research project and collaborator needs, rather than blindly following assumed ‘right’ ways of doing it
• Making it fun by building relationships through some informal periods of contact
• Clearing a space to talk about/reflect on how the PPI aspect is working for project/people.
Collective action is assisted by:
• Promoting respect for difference by: role modelling, valuing, listening, inter-personal skills
• Attending to relational/collaboration processes
• Learning to balance the expectations of PPI representatives to be treated as colleagues with the different structural requirements of their volunteer status
• Meeting people’s needs where appropriate
• Allowing flexibility of methods of contact/communication
• Identifying the right skill mix for different projects, recognising the needs of particular projects
• Accepting different educational levels, IT competencies and cognitive levels
•‘ People skills’ training for researchers (to foster good working relationships)
• PPI representatives require basic training and support (induction/orientation) in order to make PPI representatives feel ‘safe’
• Facilitate end of project and next steps for PPI representatives
• Accessibility: venue, timings
• Expenses (means of paying volunteers simply through organisations without altering benefits, tax etc.)
• Personalised recognition of situations e.g. tax
• Planned resources and contingency funds for PPI
• Staff support for PPI
• An adequate core structure/funding (including for PPI in bid development)
Reflection: PPI strengthened by -
• Talking to everyone at the outset about expectations and background
• Keeping more regular records of PPI impacts
• Reviewing PPI processes regularly throughout– what is/isn’t working well, what do we want to do to change/improve.
• Broadening scoping outputs for all as in PPI representatives as partners in papers and conferences.