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:

  • Angela Coulter (Chair), Freelance Researcher
  • Siva Anandaciva, Chief Analyst, The King’s Fund
  • Charlotte Augst, Chief Executive, National Voices
  • Sophia Christie, Director, UK Prime Ltd
  • Natalie Darko, Associate Professor, University of Leicester
  • Reena Devi, Senior Research Fellow, School of Healthcare, University of Leeds
  • Mary Dixon-Woods, Director, THIS Institute; Professor of Healthcare Improvement Studies, The Health Foundation; Professorial Fellow, Homerton College; Senior Investigator, NIHR.
  • Akiko Hart, Chief Executive, National Survivor User Network
  • Russell Mannion, Professor of Health Systems, University of Birmingham
  • Nicholas Mays, Professor of Health Policy and Director, Policy Innovation and Evaluation Unit, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
  • June Sadd, Service User & Mental Health Consultant
  • Judith Smith, Director, BRACE Centre
  • Ashok Soni, Vice President, International Pharmacy Federation
  • Bert Vrijhoef, CEO at Panaxea, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Senior Principal Investigator at the Department of Patient & Care, Maastricht University Medical Center, the Netherlands; Professor of Care Coordination at the Department of Family Medicine & Chronic Care, Vrije Universiteit Brussels, Belgium 

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. New members will be invited to join the Steering Group in consultation with existing members of the Group.
  5. Members may terminate their post by writing (by email or letter) to the Chair of the Group.
  6. The Group will meet three times a year, with informal communication and consultation by telephone or email in between these meetings. 
  7. Meetings of the 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 research administrator will be responsible for arranging the administrative support for Steering Group meetings.
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. The role of Steering Group member is unpaid, but the Centre will reimburse members for all reasonable costs members incur in fulfilling their role (e.g. travel and subsistence costs).
    4. All proceedings and action points will be minuted; minutes will be formally signed off by the Steering Group Chair and BRACE Director before being made publicly available.
    5. BRACE will publish details of its Steering Group on its website including membership, terms of reference, agendas and minutes.  

Duties of the Steering Group

  1. Ensure clarity in the direction and focus of the Centre, ensuring that it delivers against its key objectives.
  2. Advise on strategic and operational plans, and oversee delivery against those plans, including helping the Centre team to identify and pre-empt problems.
  3. Provide oversight in relation to financial management, use of resources and staffing.
  4. Assess and assure the role and extent of stakeholder (including public and patient) involvement in the work of the Centre.
  5. Provide an independent, experienced opinion if conflicts arise between the needs of the Centre, the funder, participating organisations and/or any other agencies.
  6. Provide critical challenge and input into processes of project selection and scoping/design, including advising on the approach taken to prioritising innovations for evaluation.
  7. Comment and advise on project proposals and outputs/reports, ensuring that BRACE projects and their findings meet the core aims of rigour, relevance and responsiveness.
  8. Ensure appropriate independence and robustness of the research and analysis undertaken within individual projects and across the work of the Centre.
  9. 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.
  10. Being available to provide advice and expertise as required, not just when Steering Group meetings are scheduled.

The Health and Care Panel

We work closely with people who plan, deliver and use health services. The main way we engage these groups is through our Health and Care Panel, which we consult at all stages of our work: from deciding what to evaluate, through to designing dissemination strategies which maximise the reach and impact of project findings. The Panel’s diverse membership includes patients and the public, system leaders, managers, clinicians and other practitioners, voluntary sector organisations and health service researchers. This approach helps to ensure that our evaluations focus on the things that matter most to people working in and receiving services from the NHS and social care.