The National Research Ethics Service (NRES) for England works closely with the UK Health Departments to develop and maintain a common UK-wide system for ethical review of health and social care research.
The requirements for ethical review by Research Ethics Committees are set out in section 2.3 of the harmonised UK-wide edition of the Governance Arrangements for Research Ethics Committees (GAfREC)
, published by the UK Health Departments in May 2011. These include both:
- Requirements for ethical review of research under legislation applying to the UK as a whole or particular countries of the UK
- Requirements for ethical review under the policy of the UK Health Departments, where research relates to the services for which they are responsible
For guidance on the differences between the current and previous editions of GAfREC, please refer to the NRES guidance on changes to the remit of RECs
To check whether your project requires REC review, please use the Do I Need NHS REC review
For further and detailed guidance please refer to the NRES algorithm Does my project require review by a Research Ethics Committee?
Researchers requiring advice should use the decision tool
in the first instance.
Researchers requiring further advice should contact their R&D office in the first instance. Further advice may also be sought from a REC office or the NRES Queries Line at email@example.com
by sending an outline of the project (maximum one page), summarising its purpose, methodology, type of participant and planned location.
Application for ethical review to a REC may also be made on a voluntary basis for:
If applying for ethical review, please see Where to Book
for guidance on which REC to apply to.