Attending a CAG meeting as an applicant

Last updated on 5 Apr 2024

Time and venue

Please note all CAG meetings are held online via Zoom.

If you are attending via the precedent set review pathway you are not expected to attend the meeting, as these are conducted by the CAG members via email.

They are usually held on a Thursday between 10am and 2pm. CAG meeting dates and application submission deadlines can be found here.

What happens before the CAG meeting?

Once your application has been deemed valid by one of our confidentiality advisors you will receive an email with confirmation of the date of the CAG meeting, your allocated 20-minute time slot and the Zoom link which you should use to join the meeting. We will ask you to confirm the names and roles in relation to the application of those who will be attending the meeting. We are able to accommodate up to 3 attendees.

Please also let us know, if you have any access needs relating to a disability, health condition or neurodiversity, and how we can accommodate these for you to assist with your attendance at the meeting.

Is attendance required?

While attendance at a CAG meeting is not compulsory, it is strongly recommended to assist with the speed of the review of your application.

Some issues the CAG may identify could be resolved if you are present to provide an explanation. Attending a CAG meeting may avoid the need for questions to be raised via correspondence following the meeting, which will allow you to receive the final outcome of the review more quickly.

We strongly recommend that a suitable member of the team attends the meeting. However, if no one is available to attend, the CAG will make its decision based on the information in the application form and supporting documentation.

It is also important that students are accompanied by their academic supervisor.

How to join the CAG meeting

Please check the Zoom link details carefully, to ensure that you can access it prior to the meeting date. We ask that you join the meeting a few minutes ahead of your timeslot in the event the committee is ready to review your application earlier than your allocated time.

Upon clicking the Zoom link you will be assigned to the virtual waiting room and invited into the meeting once the CAG is ready to review your application. You should be prepared to wait beyond the allocated time if necessary, and we ask that you wait in the virtual waiting room until you are brought into the meeting. The CAG will try and keep this to a minimum and inform you of any delays in a message sent to you while in the virtual waiting room.

We ask that applicants switch on their video if possible in order to help with the discussion and improve the quality of the interaction. Where possible, we recommend that you have a good sized screen in order to be able to see the CAG members when they ask questions. You will also be able to see the CAG members as soon as you join the CAG meeting.

The length of time you can expect to be in the meeting will vary depending on the type of study and any questions the CAG may have; however, you can expect to be present in the meeting usually from anywhere between five and 20 minutes.

Who will be in attendance at the CAG meeting?

Between seven and ten volunteer members of the CAG will be present at the meeting. HRA staff will also be in attendance at the meeting to take the minutes and to provide operational advice and support. It is a formal committee meeting, but the CAG will wish to make this a positive, supportive, and helpful experience. You can find out more about the members here.

CAG meetings are occasionally attended by external observers, who will have no vested interest in the applications under review and will take no part in the discussion. All observers are required to sign a confidentiality agreement. You will be advised in advance of the meeting if any observer will be in attendance at the meeting and will be offered the opportunity to ask the observer to leave during discussion of your application.

What will happen during the meeting?

The CAG will discuss your application prior to inviting you into the meeting.

Once the CAG has held its initial discussion, you will be invited into the meeting to answer any questions raised. The Chair will introduce themselves and you will be welcomed to the meeting and asked to introduce yourself, and members of your team.

The CAG will ask you questions regarding any issues or points of clarification arising from the review of your application. It is helpful if you have a copy of your application form and study documents to refer to when you attend the meeting.

Please note that you will not need to give a formal presentation as the CAG members will have read your application documents.

You will not need to take notes as the Approvals Administrator will take minutes, which will be published following the meeting. You will be sent a link to the minutes in your outcome email.

Once all the CAG’s main queries have been answered, you will be given an opportunity to raise any brief queries you may have, then you will be thanked for attending and asked to leave the meeting. The CAG will then discuss the application further, taking into account the answers that you provided.

On occasions, the CAG may find all aspects of the project completely satisfactory and there may be no need to ask you any questions. However, if you are waiting to join the meeting the CAG will still, out of courtesy, invite you into the meeting in case you have any questions.

Please be aware of the following key considerations:

  • as with all meetings, timings can overrun and therefore you must consider that the agreed time slot for the review of your application may be delayed and factor this in when planning your availability. Every effort will be made to stick to the agenda timings, but overruns can occur
  • please ensure that you are in a quiet, private, confidential environment when attending a CAG meeting

What happens after the meeting?

You will be notified of the CAG outcome via email, usually within 10 working days, and will receive one of the following outcomes:

  • Supported – your application has a legal basis to access identifiable patient information within the boundaries of your application. Your application will be subject to standard conditions of support and may also be subject to some specific conditions which will need to be actioned within the timeframe provided in your outcome letter
  • Provisional – further clarification or information is required before CAG can advise support
  • Deferred – your application does not contain enough information for the CAG to advise the decision maker. You may submit a new application for CAG to consider
  • Rejected – your application contains sufficient information and CAG have advised that the activity should not be supported

User feedback

The HRA website offers you the opportunity to provide feedback on the service received when making an application for CAG review. Applicants are invited to complete the online feedback survey and rate a number of aspects including the website, helpfulness of the correspondence they have received and their views of the committee meeting they attended. Any comments received will help to inform the operational system and improve the service the HRA provides.

In addition to feedback provided by you post-review, the HRA may also approach you to provide feedback on the service you have received. Please refer to the Privacy Statement for details on how the HRA handles your data.

If you wish to raise a complaint about the HRA, including complaints about the standard or quality of services provided by the HRA, or the behaviour of our directly employed staff, secondees, agency workers, contractors and volunteer members, please email Your complaint will be managed in accordance with the HRA’s complaints policy and procedure.

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