Centre for Public Engagement

People sitting around a table at a meeting


Centre for Public Engagement


Welcome to the Centre for Public Engagement (CPE) – a beacon for best practice in patient and public engagement in health, social care and education.

About us

The Centre for Public Engagement was founded in 2013 to develop excellence in patient and public involvement (PPI).

We provide PPI expertise and leadership in all aspects of involving patients, service users, carers and lay people in research, education, workforce development, service improvement and policy making.

We work with professionals, service users, academics, research bodies,patients and carers, and representative organisations to promote innovative, effective and ethically appropriate PPI.

Our four main areas of focus are:

Education – we deliver education programmes and develop learning tools and processes to facilitate Public Engagement in the learning environment.

Research – we undertake work to further investigate and promote the involvement of service users in health, social care, education and research.

Service Improvement – we work with service providers at all levels of health and social care and the education sector to ensure that public engagement is thoroughly and effectively embedded to improve the effectiveness and relevance of services and the representation of the public.

Workforce development – we evaluate, develop and augment the skills of the health and social care workforce, creating an evidence base for professional development around patient and public involvement.

Working with you

We can help with:

  • Collaboration and advice on public involvement in your research projects
  • Teaching or training your staff and service users in best practice
  • Involving seldom listened to and complex condition cohorts
  • Organisational and strategic involvement and engagement projects
  • Service improvement initiatives
  • Developing participative and co-production methodologies across the four areas of our activity
  • Developing outcome measures for PPI

Please contact us at

People and Resources

Prof Mary Chambers
Mary is professor of mental health nursing with a well-established record of patient and public involvement in education, research, workforce development and service improvement. She is a member of a number of editorial, review bodies and advisory groups nationally and internationally as well as associate editor of the international journal Health Expectations, which has a focus on public engagement. Mary initiated and co-produced the first therapeutic engagement instrument to quantitatively measure the impact of registered mental health nurses’ interaction on service user recovery. Outcomes of her work have had impact nationally and internationally.

Duncan Barron
Patient and Public Involvement Lead
Duncan works to promote meaningful user involvement with research teams and encourages them to incorporate patient and public involvement at the earliest stages of their research. He also has extensive experience of supporting and training members of the public with undertaking involvement roles and activities. Duncan has an established background working with Research Design Services (RDS) and their forerunners beginning in 2000 and also the Primary Care Research Network (PCRN) in Hertfordshire working as a research methodologist. Duncan has a broad experience of supporting a wide range of health and social care professionals and practitioners and academics with their research including providing expert advice and support on all aspects of developing and designing high quality grant applications particularly those aimed at securing National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funding. Duncan also works part-time as PPI Regional Operational Lead for the NIHR Research Design Service (RDS) in the SE and where he is based at the University of Brighton..

Sally Brearley
Patient and Public Involvement Fellow
Sally facilitates the Centre’s Research Expert Group of service users and carers, who contribute to research undertaken in the Faculty, and increasingly to other academic institutions. In addition to her role in the Centre for Public Engagement, Sally chairs the Royal College of Physicians’ Patient and Carer Network and is a Lay Member on the Interventional Procedures Advisory Committee at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

Francesca Taylor
Research Associate

Public Engagement Network

Do you want to be involved in the education of our future health and social care practitioners? The education of our future health and social care workforce benefits from the involvement of members of the public (including patient, service users and carers) in the design and delivery of courses. Similarly, research projects also benefit from the involvement of members of the public. If you would like to get involved, please fill in the short form below.

Join our Public Engagement Network. The Public Engagement Network (PEN) is a group of people who want to be involved in various aspects of the design and delivery of education and/or research at the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education. The purpose of PEN is to give members of the public the opportunity to contribute constructively to the work of the Faculty. Should you have a complaint about a service, this should be directed to the NHS organisation concerned by clicking here.

By joining PEN you are agreeing that you could be contacted and asked to be involved in education or research projects. The details you provide will only be accessible to staff within the Faculty. There are no obligations and you can refuse to be involved in a project. Find out more about our data protection policy.

For more detailed information about the practicalities of getting involved, including information on payment and reimbursement, please read our Guide for Public Involvement here. If you would like further information before agreeing to join or are having difficulties with the form then please contact CPE by emailing, or telephone 0208 725 4213.


Centre for Public Engagement research


Kingston University and St George’s University of London researcher appointed to prestigious panel for research excellence framework

Sally Brearley joins the Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy panel as an impact assessor.

Kingston University professors Mary Chambers, Peter Osborne, and Jane Pavitt.

Professors appointed to prestigious panels for the 2021 Research Excellence Framework

Three academics have been chosen to be part of subject panels for the next Government Research Excellence Framework (REF)


Preparation for practice: The role of the HCPC’s standards of education and training in ensuring that newly qualified professionals are fit to practise

The HCPC is a regulator of 16 health and social care professions. Its role includes ensuring that education and training programmes meet standards of education and training (SETs) and that newly qualified professionals are fit to practise.

Writing on a whiteboard

Service user involvement leads to registration

The purpose of this study, led by Kingston and St George’s Director for the Centre for Public Engagement, Professor Mary Chambers, was to investigate the extent of service user involvement (SUI) in the design and delivery of pre-registration education and training programmes which they approve.


BREATHE platform for informal care givers

‘Support for the Informal Caregiver in Long Term Care of elderly people; Platform for self-assessment and efficient management for informal caregivers (BREATHE)’, is an interdisciplinary research project

Dr Annette Boaz

Rethinking the relationship between science and society: Has there been a shift in attitudes to Patient and Public Involvement and Public Engagement in Science in the United Kingdom? Annette Boaz queries this in her paper published in the Health Expectations journal.

Rethinking the relationship between science and society: Has there been a shift in attitudes to Patient and Public Involvement and Public Engagement in Science in the United Kingdom? Annette Boaz queries this in her paper published in the Health Expectations journal.

Centre for Public Engagement

The Centre for Public Engagement

Putting the voice of patients and public at the heart of health and social care services is a cornerstone of Government policy. This means that patients, public, service users and carers must be involved in the commissioning of services, decisions about individual health and social care pathways, the education of health and social care professionals as well as research.


‘Rethinking the relationship between science and society: Has there been a shift in attitudes to Patient and Public Involvement and Public Engagement in Science in the United Kingdom?’
Annette Boaz, Despina Biri and Christopher McKevitt (2014) ‘Learning from people with long-term conditions: new insights for governance in primary healthcare’
Fiona Ross, Pam Smith, Richard Byng, Sara Christian, Helen Allan, Linnie Price and Sally Brearley (2014) ‘How to develop a patient and carer advisory group in stroke care research’
Sarah Sims, Sally Brearley, Gillian Hewitt, Nan Greenwood, Fiona Jones, Fiona Ross and Ruth Harris (2013) ‘Service users’ perceptions regarding their involvement in a physiotherapy educational programme in the UK: a qualitative study’
Di Thomson and Ros Hilton (2013)‘Perspectives on medicine adherence in service users and carers with experience of legally sanctioned detention and medication: a qualitative study’
Iris Gault, Ann Gallagher and Mary Chambers (2013)‘Patient and public involvement in the coproduction of knowledge: reflection on the analysis of qualitative data in a mental health study’
Steve Gillard, Lucy Simons, Kati Turner, Mike Lucock and Christine Edwards (2012)Managing and caring for distressed and disturbed service users: the thoughts and feelings experienced by a sample of English mental health nurses.
Mary Chambers, Xenya Kantaris, Veslemoy Guise and Maritta Välimäki. (2015)The impact of risk management practice upon the implementation of recovery-oriented care in community mental health services : a qualitative investigation.
Jessica Holley, Mary Chambers and Steven Gillard (2015)Measuring the evidence: reviewing the literature of the measurement of therapeutic engagement in acute mental health inpatient wards.
Sue McAndrew, Mary Chambers, Fiona Nolan, Ben Thomas and Paul Watts (2014)Public participation: more than a method?: Comment on “Harnessing the potential to quantify public preferences for healthcare priorities through citizens’ juries”.
Annette Boaz, Mary Chambers, and Maria Stuttaford (2014)Reaching a consensus on service-user involvement in courses for professionals.
Gary Hickey and Mary Chambers (2014)
Advisory group


Baroness Julia Cumberlege, CBE


  • Ruth Allen, Chief Executive Officer, British Association of Social Workers
  • Deborah Bowman, Professor of Bioethics and Clinical Ethics and Deputy Principal (Institutional Affairs) St George’s, University of London.
  • Catherine Dale, Programme Director, Patient Safety and Patient Experience, Health Innovation Network (HIN)
  • Anna Gill, OBE, Service User
  • Gary Hickey, Consultant, Trainer, Project and Research Manager, INVOLVE
  • Jacqueline Ladds, Executive Director of Policy and External Relations, Health and Care Professions Council
  • Fraser Lawson, Service User
  • Becki Meakin, General Manager, Shaping Our Lives
  • Andy Payne, Senior Associate, Good Governance Institute
  • Diana Rose, Professor of User-led Research, Head of Section and Co-director, Service User Research Enterprise (SURE)

People we work with

health and care professions council logoHealth Innovation Network South London logoInvolve logoSt George's Healthcare NHS logo University of Stavanger University of Stavanger University of Stavanger

Contact us

Centre for Public Engagement
Faculty of Health, Social Care & Education
Kingston University and St George’s, University of London
St George’s Campus
6th Floor Hunter Wing
Cranmer Terrace
SW17 0RE

0208 725 4213

Twitter: @CPE_FHSCE