Start Date:  May 2014   End Date:  July 2015   Status: Completed

The Centre for Public Health (CPH) at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) wished to develop a guideline on 'Community engagement - approaches to improve health'. The new guideline was to replace NICE public health guideline 9 on Community engagement (2008).

This guideline was to be developed by a Public Health Advisory Committee (PHAC) in 2014-15 in line with the final scope for this work. The guideline was published in March 2016 and contained recommendations based on the evidence considered by the PHAC.

There were three streams of work associated with the guideline development that the CPH seek to commission:

  1. Community engagement: a report on the current effectiveness and process evidence, including additional analysis.
  2. Community engagement: UK qualitative evidence, including one mapping report and one review of barriers and facilitators.  
  3. An economic analysis (cost effectiveness review and economic model).


The work here considers Component 2 of Stream 2

The following overarching questions were addressed

  1. What are the barriers to, and facilitators of, community engagement approaches and practices to improve health and wellbeing in the UK?
  2. To what extent do these barriers and facilitators vary according to key differences in community engagement approaches and practices, the health outcomes and populations to which they are targeted, and the context in which they are delivered.
  3. How can the barriers and challenges be overcome?

Within the above we will seek to explore a range of more specific issues and questions including:

  • The factors that help or hinder communities to get involved in community engagement activities and how to build capacity and motivation;
  • How local context, and the associated political, health and community structures and systems support or hamper community engagement;
  • How professionals can learn to better engage, and act on the suggestions from, communities.  


We conducted a systematic review of research addressing the barriers to, and facilitators of community engagement approaches and practices in the UK. The review was conducted in accordance with the methods for the development of NICE public health guidance (NICE , 2012).

Main Findings

Contact us

Project Lead: Professor Angela Harden


Project Team: Angela Harden, Kevin Sheridan, Farah Jamal, Alex McKeown, Ifeoma Dan-Ogosi

Funder: NICE

Project Partners: Leeds Beckett University

Report: Evidence Review 5 - Community engagement barriers and facilitators (PDF)

For more information, contact: Angela Harden

Angela Harden

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