Research governance

If you want to carry out research within or on behalf of Kent County Council, either with our staff or clients, you need to get approval.

Apply for approval

If you are a student, you should obtain ethics committee approval from your university (if this process is available and relevant to the proposal) before applying to us. You should send your application form via your university supervisor's email account, to show that it has been checked by a member of staff at the university.

Some research studies may also need approval from the NHS Health Research Authority before you send your application.

Check whether you need NHS Research Ethics Committee approval

Research studies involving four or more Local Authorities will also need Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) approval.

Apply online for approval

The research governance framework

The Department of Health's Research Governance Framework encourages the use of research whilst ensuring that it is conducted to the highest standard. The main purpose of the framework is to protect research participants by ensuring that any risks associated with a piece of research are identified and managed.

Before an external organisation or individual can undertake research with social care staff, service users or carers, or access the associated data, they need to satisfy the following requirements of the framework:

  • ethics - ensuring the dignity, rights, safety and wellbeing of research participants
  • science - ensuring that the design and methods of research are subject to independent review by relevant experts
  • information - ensuring full and free public access to information on the research and its findings
  • health and safety - ensuring at all times the safety of research participants, researchers and other staff
  • finance - ensuring financial probity and compliance with the law in the conduct of research.

The framework provides guidance on how to assure the quality of research as well as how to ensure the rights of those involved are protected. It also clarifies the responsibilities of the different agencies and individuals involved in research.

The second edition (2005) gives guidance on the Mental Capacity Act 2005, providing specialist safeguards for participants who lack capacity to consent to research.

Read Questions and Answers - Mental Capacity Act 2005

The UK Policy Framework for Health and Social Care Research is currently being reviewed by the Health Research Authority. The new policy framework is due to be published during the summer of 2016.

The framework covers any activity that involves the collection of information from or about individuals who may be service users, their relatives and friends, members of the public or Kent County Council employees.

It includes any consultations, surveys, and audits that are carried out in connection with best value, but does not include the routine collection of management information or information collected in the course of normal practice.