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Central Booking Service

Last updated on 3 Jan 2019

The Central Booking Service (CBS) is the telephone booking service for all IRAS form applications for project-based research in the NHS (or HSC in Northern Ireland) and for Research Ethics Committee (REC) applications for tissue banks, databases and health research taking place outside of the NHS/HSC.

You can contact our CBS operators via: 0207 104 8000 between 9am and 4.30pm on weekdays (excluding bank holidays).

Selecting your REC

When you book your application you will be offered the first available slot for a Research Ethics Committee (REC) which is suitable for the type of study. You should have your application in front of you as you will be asked some questions to determine which RECs are available to you, dependent on the study type. 

RECs are geographically located across the UK. You do not have to choose your nearest REC, although that option may be available, depending on the type of research you plan to undertake. Applicants are strongly encouraged to attend meetings in person, although teleconference facilities can be made available on request. 

Some studies must be reviewed by a REC that is ‘flagged’ for the type of research which is to take place. For other types of research it may be recommended to use a REC flagged for that type of research

You can choose a particular REC using the above options. For example you may have a project of unusual design or that raises particular ethical issues that you have discussed with a particular REC in the past and you may want to submit to the same REC. If you select a specific REC that is heavily booked up, you may need to wait for more than one month for an available meeting slot. 

During the call 

You will need to: 

  • confirm you are ready to submit your application on the same day
  • provide the Integrated Research Application System (IRAS) project ID and contact details of the chief investigator and sponsor contact
  • answer a series of questions about your study. 

The questions will enable the operator to check that your study is ready for review, book you to an appropriate REC and enable electronic submission through IRAS. 

The CBS team is unable to proceed with the booking until all of the electronic authorisations are in place, the REC IRAS checklist has been completed with the correct versions and dates and the corresponding documents have been uploaded to the checklist ready for submission. 

After the call 

  • You will receive an email confirming your booking and REC reference number. You will need to enter the details of the name of the REC and the REC reference number at the start of the NHS REC application form in IRAS.
  • You must electronically submit your application. This must be done on the same day as making your booking for ethical review. 

Data entry in the REC details fields in IRAS will not invalidate your electronic authorisations, however please note that if you alter any other part of your application electronic authorisations will be invalidated. 

If your study has been submitted for Proportionate Review, a REC manager will undertake a thorough pre-screen. If your application is better suited to a Full REC review – because it does not meet the criteria for proportionate review – you will be contacted within two working days and arrangements will be made for the application to be transferred.

Our customer charter sets out the standards you can expect from us and how we will seek to improve the services we provide. 

Would you like more information?

For an overview of what a full REC review entails and what constitutes Proportionate Review, visit our REC overview section.

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