Community Engagement

Call for Expression of Interest for Community Engagement Partner(s) to support EXAKT, a National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) study to determine the effect of skin tone on the diagnostic accuracy of pulse oximeters


The Intensive Care National Audit & Research Centre (ICNARC) and the EXAKT (Exploring pulse oXimeter Accuracy across sKin Tones) study investigators are seeking suitably qualified organisation/s to engage the breadth of Black and racially minoritised individuals and communities[1] in England to support a study being launched to determine the effect of skin tone on the diagnostic accuracy of pulse oximeters. The community engagement partner(s) will work with us in the following areas:

  • Insight work – To engage with Black and racially minoritised communities to gauge understanding of structural racism in acute health care, use of medical technology and what would be helpful to mitigate issues.
  • Community promotion of programme – To work with Black and racially minoritised community leaders to highlight that this critical work is being undertaken.
  • Coproduction of patient material – A leaflet will be developed with representatives of Black and racially minoritised communities for families and patients to explain why this work is being undertaken.
  • Programme oversight – A lay and a scientific representative from Black and racially minoritised communities will be appointed to the study steering Group.
  • Communication of findings – The community partner and members of the study steering group will be involved in synthesising and communicating the findings to the local and scientific communities.

We are particularly interested in organisations who have experience of engaging people from Black and racially minoritised communities on issues related to use of acute health care in England. Organisations will bring their own expertise and understanding of the needs of the communities which they serve.

[1] For more information on the use of the term ‘minoritised’ please see:

Background and Context

The commonest way to measure the level of oxygen in a person’s blood is by using a pulse oximeter; a clip that is usually placed on a fingertip and provides a value where 96-100% is considered normal.

An increasing number of studies have shown that for people with darker (pigmented) skin tones, pulse oximeters may over-estimate their true oxygen level. This is because the pulse oximeter shines light through the fingertip and skin tone may affect the device’s accuracy. Over-estimation of oxygen levels could under-estimate the seriousness of a person's illness, leading to them not receiving the correct treatment and come to unnecessary harm.

This study aims to find out whether skin tone affects the accuracy of pulse oximeters and confirm whether they over-estimate the level of oxygen in people with darker skin tones. The results will answer the question about the accuracy of pulse oximeters and provide information that will allow manufacturers to adapt how pulse oximeters work in the future. For more information about the study and it’s aims, please see the About section of the EXAKT study website.


We are now in the process of planning recruitment of participants to the study and raising awareness of the study among the study and wider population. We will then move into a period of focused co-production to support promotion of the study, development of study materials and planning for communication of the study findings in 2023. This will follow the indicative timeline below:

June 2022: Launch of the study and recruitment of study participants.

June 2022: Establishment of study steering group including representation from appointed community engagement partner(s).

June 2022 – September 2022: Initial round of community engagement/insights to inform study materials and promotion.

September 2022 – May 2023: Ongoing programme oversight with appointed community co-production partner(s) via study steering group and other mechanisms developed to ensure community input and engagement.

December 2022 – March 2023: Second round of community engagement/insights to inform planning for dissemination of study findings.

June 2023 – July 2023: Final promotion / dissemination / engagement for study findings via appropriate communication and engagement channels/materials as informed by the appointed community co-production partner(s).

We are particularly interested in strategies / approaches that:

  • Engage across the diversity of Black and racially minoritised individuals and communities to build awareness and encourage engagement in the study.
  • Enable ongoing engagement and participation of Black and racially minoritised individuals and communities during the study period.
  • Facilitate and use culturally sensitive approaches for Black and racially minoritised communities for engagement and promotion of the study, and communication of the study findings.
  • Support and use trauma-informed practice when engaging with Black and racially minoritised communities who may have experienced trauma in relation to racism and discrimination when accessing healthcare/health services, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Use innovative and evidence-based approaches for engagement and co-production with Black and racially minoritised communities.

We are seeking an organisation (or organisations) that can work with us from June 2022 – July 2023. Organisations are invited to submit proposals of up to £60,000 to deliver this community co-production work. We would also consider proposals for parts of this work and would welcome a discussion prior to submission.

ICNARC will aim to appoint an organisation(s) which represent the demographic makeup of the study population and will work with the appointed organisation(s) to develop the engagement, co-production, and communication methodologies to ensure that the activity achieves the required aims.

The indicative Timetable for the appointment of the community engagement partner(s) is below:

Key milestones


Invitations to submit proposals opens

Friday 29 April 2022

Deadline for submitting proposals

Wednesday 01 June 2022


Proposals reviewed and evaluated

w/c Monday 06 June 2022

Successful proposals notified

w/c Monday 06 June 2022

Project start from

6th June 2022

Project duration

1 year

How to Submit a Proposal

Proposals can be submitted in Word or PDF format. They should be a maximum of 2000 words (excluding CVs and any other accompanying evidence).

Submissions should confirm the organisation’s ability to deliver against the requirements set out in this document, describe their relevant experience, and provide an outline of how they would deliver the project alongside indicative staffing proposal and costs. Submissions from collaborations of organisations are welcome.

Proposals or requests for informal discussions should be submitted via e-mail to The deadline for proposals is close of business on Wednesday 01 June 2022. Any questions about the proposals should be sent to

Applicants will be notified of the outcome w/c 06 June 2022 and will be expected to commence work on the project early June 2022.

To be included within the proposal:

Organisations will be expected to:



  • Be responsible for ensuring that the engagement activity is conducted ethically, and that any relevant ethical clearance is sought from local ethics committees. 
  • Provide a write up of their engagement work which includes a description of the methodology used and an analysis of findings.
  • Include examples of the lived experience of use of health care and health care technology as appropriate. Anonymise notes from meetings and recordings/transcriptions before being made available to the EXAKT study team.

Organisations should include within their proposal:


  • Details of how their proposed methodology and rationale for their approach based on their understanding of the study and how the target groups would most like to participate in this type of research. This could include any of the following approaches:

           Mobile app-based research event

           Focus groups


           Community reference group

Finances should be set out within the proposal and include:

  • Costs for delivering the project (including assumed breakdown of staff time based on daily rates, remuneration of participants and other resources)
  • Management and quality assurance

Organisations must also confirm that they can:

  • Provide up to £1 million Public Liability Insurance
  • Up-to-date enhanced DBS for staff/volunteers
  • Provide a statement on Data Protection compliance, including GDPR

Evaluation Criteria

Proposals will be evaluated based on the below criteria and will also need to ensure there are a range of projects which will engage the breadth of Black and racially minoritised individuals and communities in England.

Main Criteria (& Weighting)

Sub-criteria Weighting


Price (40%)


Clearly sets out the costs of delivering the proposed engagement project. Provides value for money.

Service Delivery (40%)


Proposal clearly sets out the target group for the project, the proposed methodology, key questions the engagement project will address, and how the organisation will analyse the information and present this back to the EXAKT study team. Proposal links to the study aims and evidence available.


Proposal demonstrates local knowledge, understanding of the target group and insight into the barriers they face. The proposal details how participants will be recruited and supported to participate.


Addresses how the project will be resourced and delivered to meet deadlines. Evidenced with a project plan, proposed staffing structure and CVs of staff.


Proposal demonstrates an understanding of the possible problems/issues and reasonable proposals to mitigate their impact. 

Equalities (10%)


The Proposal demonstrates a thorough understanding of the health inequalities that the study aims to improve.

Social Value (10%)


The Proposal demonstrates a commitment to Social Value and building community capacity to participate in research. 


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