How to develop a clinical guideline for RCPCH endorsement

Clinical guidelines are sets of recommendations based on systematic research methods. Producing these requires advanced research skills and project management. Guideline development follows specific sequential stages with relevant stakeholder involvement.
Last modified
25 May 2022


NICE logoWe produce clinical guidelines to high standards in line with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence's methodology (NICE). 

The guideline development process, accredited by NICE since 2009, is described in detail in our manual, RCPCH Setting standards for development of clinical guidelines in paediatrics and child health.

We also support the development of paediatric clinical guidelines from third party organisations, such as related specialty groups. This enables other organisations to produce guidelines to the highest quality in order to gain RCPCH endorsement.

RCPCH endorsement gives a paediatric clinical guideline the same status as those produced by the College.

Looking to develop a high quality clinical guideline?

We can help you meet our criteria for endorsement. Register your interest as soon as you start planning your guideline by downloading the application form from the bottom of this page.

The Quality Improvement Committee (QIC) will discuss your application. If approved, we will:

  • register with your group as a formal stakeholder (explain our process and methodology, which will help you get endorsement)
  • help identify and/or confirm a RCPCH representative to join your Guideline Development Group (GDG)
  • coordinate consultation among RCPCH members (and related specialty groups) on the scope and draft guideline
  • provide information regarding the expected methodology and guideline development stages - methodological advice is available (a fee may be applicable).

Already started developing a clinical guideline?

Please contact us on as soon as possible. We will ask you to complete the application form and a guideline methodology assessment form.

Eligibility criteria for endorsement

Our guideline process manual outlines the criteria standards for endorsement:

  1. The guideline has been developed with College involvement from the outset (registered with Clinical Standards & Quality Improvement team).
  2. The guideline has been developed with adequate paediatric involvement from the outset (a RCPCH representative has been a member of GDG).
  3. The guideline methodology has been applied and all guideline development stages have been followed (i.e. the key criteria of the AGREE II tool have been met). This is not applicable for NICE accredited organisations.
  4. The recommendations are a fair reflection of the evidence.
  5. The guideline adequately addresses comments made during consultation.

The process

  1. Apply
    Complete and return the appropriate form - see Downloads below. Please complete all sections. If some information is missing, this may result in delays. We will acknowledge receipt within one week.
  2. QIC reviews your application
  3. If your application is accepted, RCPCH will formally register as a stakeholder with your group (RCPCH decision will be informed within 2-3 weeks)
    As a stakeholder, the College expects to be adequately represented during the guideline development, and consult on the scope and final guideline with the membership.
  4. Identify and confirm paediatric representation (RCPCH call for experts within 2-3 weeks)
    If your GDB needs paediatric representation, the College can identify an expert related to the topic of your guideline. If you have already identified a potential representative, please let the team know and we will process the confirmation approval as formal College representation.
  5. Consult on guideline scope (RCPCH consultation takes 3 weeks)
    We expect to consult on the guideline scope before guideline development starts. Please submit the scope and we will coordinate a consultation among relevant RCPCH members and specialty groups. We will forward comments for your consideration, and expect amendments on the final scope.
  6. Report progress during guideline development
    We expect progress reports to be submitted every quarter. and will report at QIC meetings for information.
  7. Provide appraisal at key guideline development stages (RCPCH feedback on appraisal assessments within 2-3 weeks of each submission)
    We will contact you at key stages and ask you to complete and submit the guideline methodology assessment form. We will provide a feedback appraisal summary, based on the criteria of the AGREE II tool (PDF).
  8. Consult on the draft guideline (RCPCH consultation takes 3 weeks)
    We will consult on the first draft with RCPCH members and relevant specialty groups. We will forward responses for your consideration.
  9. RCPCH makes final assessment before endorsement (RCPCH final check takes 1-2 weeks)
    There will be a final assessment on the methodology before endorsement. We will review whether responses from the draft guideline consultation have been adequately addressed.
  10. RCPCH makes decision for endorsement
    The endorsement of a clinical guideline requires approval from the QIC, after assessing the recommendation from the Clinical Standards team. The decision for endorsement is based on whether the final clinical guideline has had College and paediatric involvement from the outset, has been developed to high methodological standards (ie meet criteria of the AGREE II tool), the guideline has gone through extensive consultation among experts (including the RCPCH) and comments received have been adequately addressed.

What happens next

If your guideline does not meet the criteria for endorsement, we will ask you to resubmit further information for re-appraisal. This can take up to three weeks.

If your guideline is endorsed, we will send you a confirmation letter with the RCPCH endorsement logo, which can be display in the cover of the guideline.

We will post your guideline in our clinical guideline directory.