HSE Research Ethics Committees Support and Coordination Office

The HSE Research Ethics Committees Support and Coordination Office (HSE REC SCO) main responsibility is to the HSE Reference RECs, but will also offer support to Hospital RECs.

The office responsibilities with regards to the HSE Reference RECs include:

Support:

  • Providing support in the recruitment of their members, officers, and administrative staff.
  • Advocating for recurring funding for HSE Reference RECs in order to facilitate the performance of their function in a sustainable manner.
  • Linking with HSE Reference RECs to ensure that a rotation system (e.g. staggered tenure) is in place for REC members to achieve business continuity, and the development and maintenance of expertise within each HSE Reference REC.
  • Develop a training programme for REC members and administrative staff.
  • Assisting with operational advice to the HSE Reference RECs.

Coordination:

  • The office will coordinate the roll out of the National Electronic Research Management System at national level for the HSE Reference RECs and will provide individual support.
  • Administrative support for the REC Managers Group.
  • Administrative support for the REC Chairs Group.

Governance:

The office will also provide support to other hospital RECs including:

  • Support with the roll out and maintenance of the National Electronic Research Management System for RECs.
  • Provide members with training opportunities.
  • Support REC managers in the resolution of queries.

To contact the HSE Research Ethics Committee Support and Coordination Office please email us at hse.rec@hse.ie 


The Roadmap for the Reform of Health and Social Care Research Ethics Committees

The HSE is in the process of reforming the HSE Research Ethics Committee system to ensure all HSE services, and Section 38 and 39 organisations, have access to a REC. The reform process will establish 6 regional HSE Reference RECs based on the Sláintecare Regional Health Areas.

The REC Reform Roadmap sets out the phases of development for the HSE Reference RECs.

The HSE Reference RECs

The following HSE Reference RECs (RREC) are in the process of being set up:

  • HSE RREC for RHA A – North East area and CHO9
  • HSE RREC for RHA C – South East area
  • HSE RREC for RHA D – South area
  • HSE RREC for RHA E – Mid-West area
  • HSE RREC for RHA F – West/North West area

Standard code of Governance and Management for the HSE Reference RECs

All HSE Reference RECS operate to a standard code of practice, The Standard Code of Governance and Management Required for HSE Reference RECs.

Policies and procedures

The following national legislation, HSE policies and procedures are relevant to the HSE and Hospital RECs:

There is also a range of national and international guidance on conducting ethical research including:

Training

All REC members undergo training on the Standard Code of Practice, ethics in research, and reviewing applications, when they are appointed. They are also expected to undergo at least eight hours of learning each year linked to the work of the REC. This can be by attending face-to-face training, completing e-learning, or undertaking independent self-directed learning.

Continuing Professional Development

Members can obtain CPD points from their professional body by submitting certificates of attendance to training events and also attendance at REC meetings.

Standard forms for Applicants

Standard forms for the management of Research Ethics Committees

HSE Reference RECs Quality Assurance Framework

HSE Reference Research Ethics Committees (RECs) are required to demonstrate their compliance with the Standard Code of Practice for the Governance and Management of Research Ethics Committees. The Quality Assurance Framework (QAF) is to: 

  • assure the HSE that the Reference REC is compliant with the Standard Code of Practice for the Governance and Management of Research Ethics Committees.
  • identify areas of good practice and areas of excellence.
  • identify areas for improvement and relevant support needs.

The framework reviews the Reference REC against 6 standards: 

  1. Accountability
  2. Governance
  3. Quality
  4. Standard code of practice
  5. Data management
  6. Lay/Patient and Public Involvement (PPI)

Further details of the QAF can be obtained from the SCO at:  hse.rec@hse.ie 

National Research Committee for the Governance, Management and Support of Research (National RGMS Committee)

The National RGMS Committee is the appointing authority for the HSE Reference RECs.

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updated 14/07/22