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:
- 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.
- 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.
- The office manages the link from the HSE Reference RECs to the HSE National Committee for the Governance, Management, and Support of Research enabling it to provide oversight.
- Manages the HSE Reference RECs quality assurance process and the request and submission of annual reports.
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 email@example.com
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 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:
- HSE National Framework for the Governance, Management and Support of Research HSE Research and Development Publications – HSE | Research & Development.
- HSE National Policy for Consent in Health and Social Care Research (2023)
- General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016, on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data and repealed Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation) Data Protection and Research – HSE | Research & Development (hseresearch.ie).
- Data Protection Act 2018 gives further effect to the General Data Protection Regulation in areas where the GDPR gives limited flexibility to Member States (irishstatutebook.ie).
- The Health Research Regulations 2018-2020 were made under that Act and are collectively referred to as the Data Protection Act 2018 (Section 36(2)) (Health Research) Regulations 2018 S.I. No. S.I. No. 314 of 2018
- and subsequent amendments – Amendments to Health Research Regulations (www.gov.ie).
There is also a range of national and international guidance on conducting ethical research including:
- The Nuremberg Code. In: Mitscherlich A, Mielke F. Doctors of Infamy: The Story of the Nazi Medical Crimes. New York: Schuman; 1949: xxiii–xxv
- The Declaration of Helsinki
- The Belmont Report: Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects of Research
- ICH-Good Clinical Practice Guideline E6 (R2)
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
- Annual Report Template (Word / 116KB)
- Checklist for HSE Reference RECs (Word / 108KB)
- Final Progress Report (completed by researcher) (Word / 74KB)
- Safety Report (Word / 68KB)
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:
- Standard code of practice
- Data management
- Lay/Patient and Public Involvement (PPI)
Further details of the QAF can be obtained from the SCO at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.