NHS Health Research Authority publish a business plan

The NHS Health Research Authority (HRA) has published an updated business plan for 2021-22.  

Matt Westmore, Chief Executive at HRA, who began in his role at the start of 2020/21 is positive in the foreword: “this business plan sets out how the HRA will continue to deliver both our vital contribution to the pandemic and a high-volume ‘business-as-usual’ service working collaboratively across the sector. We will use the last years’ experience to transform the HRA’s contribution to the UK’s health and social care research landscape for the better and for good.”  

The Health Research Authority is an arms-length body of the Department of Health and Social Care and aims to “protect and promote the interests of patients and the public in health and social care research.” 

The business plan sets out three core objectives that the organisation is working towards.  

The first objective is to “enable high-quality research which is in the interests of participants and carried out with patient and public involvement and high standards of transparency.” To achieve this objective, the HRA will, according to the business plan, “facilitate UK-wide collaboration with a strong focus on patient and public involvement and engagement; this will include agreeing on a sector-wide consensus statement reaffirming the importance of public involvement. We will deliver the next phase of our Make It Public transparency strategy.”  

The next objective is to “provide a user-friendly and efficient service which facilitates a strong research environment” and to work towards this, a new collaboration project with NHSX, will start the process to “streamline, modernise and simplify the development of high-quality data and AI-driven healthcare technologies and devices.”  

The HRA from 2021 will begin a three-year programme to re-design digital services at the organisation and will build on relationships with National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and MHRA, to share data between information systems.  

The final objective is to “be a knowledgeable, well-run organisation” that’s true to its values. To achieve this, the HRA will aim to “enhance the role of our Public Involvement Network in our work in particular, and our engagement and collaboration with HRA volunteers more generally.” 

Supporting this objective, the HRA will publish an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, and by March 2022, the HRA is expected to publish a new people strategy.  

The business plan is available to read in full here.