The National Social Care Research Ethics Committee (the Social Care REC) was established in June 2009 to review adult social care research study proposals from researchers based anywhere in England. It is an NRES (National Research Ethics Service) Committee following their governance and standard operating procedures.
Following a recent extension of its brief by NRES, the Social Care REC is now also reviewing studies taking place in NHS settings with NHS staff and patients where the approach to data collection uses social science or qualitative methods, provided that the research does not involve any change in treatment or clinical practice. A study collecting patients’ views of care and treatment through structured questionnaires or qualitative interviews would be an example of this type of study.
NHS R&D officers will come across studies reviewed by the Social Care REC when investigators apply for research governance approval. The opinion given by Social Care REC is equivalent to that of any other NRES REC. R&D officers may also occasionally be in a position to offer advice to potential researchers who have not yet applied for ethics approval: they should consider whether the Social Care REC would be a valid option for the researcher, if the study is using social science techniques and there is no proposal to change patient care or treatment.
For more information about the Social Care REC, visit www.screc.org.uk or e-mail the Co-ordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org.