Who we work with

The BRACE Steering Group is responsible for overseeing and advising on the general strategy for the BRACE Rapid Evaluation Centre, to ensure it meets its key objectives. Day-to-day management of BRACE and the projects within its portfolio is the responsibility of the BRACE Director and Executive Team.

The members of the BRACE Steering Group are as follows:

  • Natalie Armstrong (Chair), Professor of Healthcare Improvement Research University of Leicester
  • Jason Scott (Deputy Chair), Associate Professor of Health and Social Care Quality University of Northumbria
  • Gary Abel, Associate Professor University of Exeter
  • Siva Anandaciva, Chief Analyst King's Fund
  • Helen Atherton, Professor of Primary Care Research University of Southampton
  • Sharon Brennan, Director of Policy and External Affairs National Voices
  • Sophia Christie-Garcia, Freelance consultant
  • Geraldine Clarke, Senior Analytical Manager Health Foundation
  • Natalie Darko, Associate Professor University of Leicester
  • Nigel Edwards, Freelance consultant
  • Mirza Lalani, Research Associate London School of Health and Tropical Medicine
  • Ellen Nolte, Professor of Health Services and Systems London School of Health and Tropical Medicine
  • Emma Rowley, Senior Researcher University of Nottingham
  • Laura Sheard, Associate Professor of Health Sciences University of York
  • Beck Taylor, Clinical Associate Professor University of Warwick
  • Justin Waring, Director of BRACE, Professor of Medical Sociology and Healthcare Organisation University of Birmingham
  • Tina Coldham, Freelance PPIE consultant & Jenny Newbould, RAND Leader; BRACE PPI Co-leads - share one place on Steering Group

Steering Group Terms of Reference

Steering Group members are asked to contribute their time and expertise, and to adhere to the following principles:

  • An interest in the Centre, its purpose, operation, outcomes and wider context
  • A commitment to working with other members respectfully and constructively
  • Acting as a champion for BRACE, its work and outcomes
  • Maintaining the confidentiality of any information provided on a confidential basis. 

Membership and operation

  1. The Steering Group will consist of no more than 15 members, at least 75% of whom must be independent (i.e. not part of the same institution as any of the applicants or members of the Centre team).
  2. Membership is individual, not institutional. Therefore, in a situation whereby a member of the steering group is unable to attend, they are not permitted to ask a colleague from their organisation to attend on their behalf.
  3. Members will serve for a period of at least three years; they can serve for the full five years of the Centre’s operation if they wish.
  4. Membership of the Steering Group will be reviewed periodically and, in consultation with existing members of the Group, new members may be invited to join.
  5. Members may terminate their post by writing (by email or letter) to the Chair of the Steering Group.
  6. The Steering Group will meet twice a year, with informal communication and consultation by email, video call or telephone, in between these meetings. 
  7. Meetings of the Steering Group will be quorate if at least the following are present: Chair or Deputy Chair, four independent members, two representatives of the BRACE team.
  8. The BRACE Centre Manager will be responsible for arranging the administrative support for Steering Group meetings.
  9. At the beginning of each meeting, members must declare any conflicts of interest that may exist e.g. applications for funding, formal working partnerships with NHS providers and other relevant organisations.
  10. If Steering Group members are unable to resolve any concerns raised within meetings, it will be the responsibility of the Chair to approach the NIHR for further guidance.
  11. The role of Steering Group member is unpaid, but the Centre will reimburse members for all reasonable costs incurred in fulfilling their role (e.g. travel and subsistence costs).
  12. All proceedings and action points will be minuted; minutes will be formally signed off by the Steering Group Chair and BRACE Director.
  13. BRACE will publish details of its Steering Group on its website including membership and terms of reference.

Duties of the Steering Group

  1. Ensure clarity in the direction and focus of the BRACE Centre, ensuring that it delivers against its key objectives.
  2. Advise the BRACE Executive team on strategic and operational plans, and oversee delivery against those plans, including helping the Centre team to identify and pre-empt problems.
  3. Assess and assure the role and extent of stakeholder (including public and patient) involvement in the work of the Centre, in accordance with the principles of equality, diversity and inclusion.
  4. Provide an independent, experienced opinion if conflicts arise between the needs of the Centre, the funder, participating organisations and/or any other agencies.
  5. Provide critical challenge and input into processes of scoping/design.
  6. Comment and advise on project proposals and outputs/reports, ensuring that BRACE projects and their findings meet the core aims of rapidity, rigour, relevance and responsiveness.
  7. Ensure appropriate independence and robustness of the research and analysis undertaken within individual projects and across the work of the Centre.
  8. Provide advice and guidance to help maximise the reach and impact of dissemination activities, and support those activities by cascading information (e.g. about new reports/outputs) through their organisations and associated networks.
  9. Be available to provide advice and expertise as required, not just when Steering Group meetings are scheduled.

Rapid Advisory Panels

A new feature for BRACE is the formation of three Rapid Advisory Panels to provide responsive and dynamic input into BRACE decision-making. The three Panels will have a designated Chair and each will have a core membership.  Each Rapid Advisory Panel will have up to eight people recruited through:

1. Our PPIE networks and with National Voices

2. Our research and methodological networks; and

3. our extensive networks with health and social care service leaders and partners.

The Panels will provide time critical advice to the Executive and project teams, especially in the scoping and co-design phases of evaluations.