The Social Care REC reviews applications involving the social care sector (e.g. in local authority, private and voluntary care settings) that would not otherwise have access to ethical review, or which cross sector boundaries. It generally expects to review the following types of study:
1. Social care studies funded by Department of Health.
- Research commissioned directly through the Policy Research Programme.
- Information Centre (IC) studies (i.e. those to be designed by IC for implementation by Councils with Adult Social Services Responsibilities, who do not then individually need to seek additional review).
- Studies commissioned by or through National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) School for Social Care Research.
- Social care studies funded (in rare cases) through NIHR.
2. Social care research that involves people lacking capacity in England and Wales and requires approval under the Mental Capacity Act 2005. The Social Care REC is recognised by the Secretary of State as an Appropriate Body for this purpose.
3. Social care research involving sites in England and another United Kingdom country.
4. ‘Own account’ research undertaken by Councils with social services responsibilities, where the Chief Investigator and/or sponsor feels there are substantial ethical issues.
5. Studies where investigators do not have access to other review systems. This could
include service user-led research.
6. Studies taking place in NHS settings with NHS patients or service users where the approach to data collection uses social science or qualitative methods, provided that the research does not involve any clinical interventions or changes to clinical care. A study collecting patients’ views of care and treatment through structured questionnaires or qualitative interviews would be an example of this type of study.